Renovation hope for ‘depressing’ Beer church

15:00 11 May 2014

Beer’s ‘thoroughly depressing’ parish church will undergo major internal renovations to reverse a period of decline if parishioners lend their support.

A damning report compared St Michael’s to a cluttered ‘rummage sale’ filled with abandoned remnants of a bygone era – but the parish church council (PCC) is determined to give it a new lease of life.

The proposed work includes removing many of the pews and the altar, levelling the floor, reconfiguring the layout and installing storage space.

A professional survey noted: “For all the claims that the church is an impressive building and celebration of its grandeur, the present interior is full of clutter and all manner of stuff that no-one seems to have had the confidence to throw away.

“It has the appearance of a slightly musty and irrelevant rummage sale, remnants of a bygone era that have been abandoned with a degree of sorrow and sadness.

“It all suggests a congregation who are overwhelmed by the challenges of their building and mission. I found St Michael’s a thoroughly depressing place to be.”

In response, the plans read: “This candid report stung the PCC and congregation into serious reflection, and the realisation that continued decline could only lead to closure. It also led to a resolve that this should not be the case.”

Knowing the work would be needed, the PCC already has the funds set aside, and its coffers were boosted recent by a generous legacy.

The PCC wants to clear the clutter and make the building appear ‘more cared for and loved’, and create a more intimate space for smaller services and prayer.

They also plan to improve the facilities for families and younger people, form a larger space for social interaction and an occasional café, enhance the popular bookstall and boost the quality of the space for concerts and exhibitions.

The majority of Beer’s 1,500 parishioners will attend a service at some point in the year, and the church aims to make those experiences positive.

The grade II listed church was completed in 1877 and is currently left open every day of the year, attracting several thousand visitors.

The blueprints have won the approval of the Diocese of Exeter and now the church has to make a ‘petition for faculty’ to the parishioners.

They are on display in the church, together with instructions for anyone wanting to object.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sidmouth Herald visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sidmouth Herald staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sidmouth Herald account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

12:30
The Sidmouth Hopper Bus was launched this week for it's 2015 season. Ref shs 7564-21-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A free bus service that showcases the Sid Valley, reduces pressure on parking and brings thousands of shoppers to the town is back in action, writes Stephen Sumner.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

Patients are paying the price for the ‘99 per cent’ of drivers who use and abuse a free town centre car park, but health bosses and library staff have promised a crackdown.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00
The 1st Sid Vale Scouts are putting their old HQ up for auction

Sidmouth’s scouts could be sent well on their way to their £180,000 fundraising target for a new HQ when their old hut goes under the hammer next month.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:39
Sidmouth Victoria Hospital. Ref shs 7754-40-14SH Picture: Simon Horn

Health bosses have been accused of paying ‘lip service’ to recommendations from independent representatives against proposals that would see Sidmouth’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) close.

Read more

A businessman whose dream of a seafront coffee van was dashed has caused another stir peddling hot drinks from a tricycle – using legislation that dates back to the Victorian age.

Read more
Lucy Lowe with her children Lydia, Tilly and Barnaby outside Ottery St Mary Hospital. Ref sho 8179-22-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A paralysed mum-of-four says she is devastated at being refused a disability grant that was her ‘last hope’ of returning home to her family.

Read more
Mon, 10:39
Ottery St Mary Hospital entrance. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife

Health bosses have come under fire from representatives who accused them of paying ‘lip service’ to a report’s recommendations against cuts to Ottery’s hospital services.

Read more
Mon, 09:25
Devon Freewheelers has extended its service to help South Western Ambulance Service and also Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Devon Freewheelers is celebrating rolling out its lifeline service to include delivering blood to on-scene emergency doctors.

Read more
Sunday, May 31, 2015
shs salcombe memorial 2

Servicemen past and present, of the Second Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment, remembered fallen heroes who held off enemy soldiers during World War One.

Read more
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Donna Lane from Sidford won two prizes at the Devon County Show

A ‘magical’ floral display created by a Sidford resident won two prizes at this year’s Devon County Show.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder