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Church plan for garage

PUBLISHED: 16:40 13 September 2010

A church which has not had its own home for three decades is hoping to turn a car repair garage into its own place of worship.

Wroxham and Hoveton United Reformed Church (URC) currently shares facilities with the parish church St Mary’s in Wroxham.

But because the building is owned by the Church of England, the URC says it is unable to hold as many events and activities it would like.

Now planners have given the go-ahead for a garage workshop in Norwich Road, Wroxham, to be converted and extended, so it can be used for church services and as a community centre.

Members of Broadland District Council approved the plan, subject to various conditions, at a meeting this month.

The URC’s Synod in Cambridge has already agreed to purchase the property, subject to receiving planning approval and the Wroxham church is now hoping that the project will proceed.

However, they face a battle to raise approximately £150,000 for the work to convert the building so that it has an entrance lobby, a church room accommodating a seated congregation of 77 people, a meeting room/vestry, Sunday school room, tea room, two toilets, a store and second lobby.

Richard Mould, chairman of the church’s building committee, said they wanted the new building to be available for use and hire by the whole community. He said: “We have always wanted our own church and premises to provide facilities and activities within the community. The URC in Princes Street in Norwich holds art exhibitions, coffee mornings and other events, and that is what we would like to do.”

The plan is to add a pitched roof to the existing building, mount a cross on the north-facing gable and also provide some car parking. Mr Mould’s wife Corrie, who will be heading up the church’s fundraising campaign, said: “Now the difficult part starts. It’s going to involve quite a lot of applications for grants and we hope that the building will be suitable for use by the community as well.”

A planning application to build two houses on the same site was approved in August.

This was also submitted by the URC’s Synod in Cambridge and was purely undertaken as a measure to protect the value of the land in the unlikely event that the garage is not converted into a church and it needs to recoup its investment.

Anyone who can help with donations towards the fundraising for the church coversion can send a cheque, made out to Wroxham and Hoveton United Reformed Church, to Cypress House, 25 Staitheway Road, Wroxham NR12 8JW.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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