Arson-hit village church hall set to be replaced

PUBLISHED: 06:43 14 January 2015

Revd Mark Ward and church council member Audrey Callis standing on the site of the former Newton Poppleford church hall. Ref shs 4976-02-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Revd Mark Ward and church council member Audrey Callis standing on the site of the former Newton Poppleford church hall. Ref shs 4976-02-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

Newton Poppleford’s arson-hit church hall will be replaced with a multi-purpose space for the whole village, if parochial leaders have their way.

The building, at St Luke’s, burnt down in 2010 and replacing it like-for-like was not thought worthwhile, but now there is the opportunity to create something new.

The parochial church council (PCC) has voted to build an extension onto the church to fulfil its needs once again – with room to expand, if necessary.

The Reverend Mark Ward said: “This is an opportunity to take a fresh look. Although in the short term we have all missed having the old hall, we now have the opportunity to do something better for the long term.

“Although it will take time to complete, I am very excited about this project.

“My hope is that the hall is going to be to the advantage of the church and the wider local community.”

He said the project was in its early stages so there was no design or projected costing, but building onto the church meant it would likely exceed the £90,000 quoted to rebuild the old hall, so some fundraising will be necessary.

The current proposals are to build onto the south and west side of the church, with a design that could allow a larger hall to be added as a second phase. The PCC hopes it will have permanent facilities for toilets, storage and making drinks, and be used for meetings, children’s groups and tea and toast events.

The project to replace it will need the backing of both East Devon District Council and the Diocese of Exeter.

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