Church hall to go after Newton Poppleford blaze

PUBLISHED: 11:49 01 April 2011

Nikki Peckham and Chris Chapman (right), brownie leader at Newton Poppleford at the site of their burnt out shed.; Picture by Terry Ife ref shv 0244-32-10TI

Nikki Peckham and Chris Chapman (right), brownie leader at Newton Poppleford at the site of their burnt out shed.; Picture by Terry Ife ref shv 0244-32-10TI

Archant

Cost of repairing fire-damaged St Luke’s church hall, Newton Poppleford, torched by vandals last August, would be more than the hall is worth.

THE cost of repairing fire-damaged St Luke’s church hall, Newton Poppleford, torched by vandals last August, would be more than the hall is worth.

It would cost “in excess of £90,000” to repair, and, says churchwarden Haylor Lass: “and we would still have a tatty old hall.”

He said the building contained an asbestos and cement roof which had contaminated the rest of it following the fire, which destroyed a Brownie pack’s storage shed and contents, (pictured) and also spread to the church and another shed.

A man was arrested following the blaze.

Mr Lass said St Luke’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) had decided to demolish the hall, clear the site and start again.

“It will not be much cheaper, new buildings don’t come cheap,” he added.

The PCC has engaged an architect to carry out an ‘options study’ to produce sketch designs for a range of possible solutions for the site.

When this is complete the PCC will decide how to move forward, bearing in mind the constraints of money, planning consents and heritage issues.

Mr Lass said: “There will be a range of solutions, which may or may not include a hall. There will be some sort of facility, we need toilets and a kitchen for normal church use.”

He said it was unlikely a re-build would attract a community hall grant because Newton Poppleford also had a village hall and pavilion.

“We will not be looking at a large hall. The next PCC meeting is in May and I am hoping to have a report by then,” added Mr Lass. “We will then need to raise money.”

Meanwhile parishioners are being encouraged to pray for the future of the hall site. This was started with a Prayer Breakfast two weeks ago, offering coffee and bacon rolls.


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