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Norwich church needs £500,000 of repairs

PUBLISHED: 13:39 11 February 2012

Princes Street in Norwich.

Princes Street in Norwich.

A congregation is being asked to consider plans for the church's future after it was revealed hundreds of thousands of pounds of repair work needs to be done on the church buildings.

The United Reformed Church in Princes Street, Norwich, will hold a meeting with its members at the beginning of next month to explore the church’s options for the way forward.

Both of the church buildings, including next door property Boardman House, are grade II listed and early estimates have suggested that repair work would cost at least £500,000.

Boardman House is not only used by the church but is also leased out to Age UK and a number of groups in the city.

John Napier, who is on the property committee at the church, said: “The buildings are getting to the stage where a lot of work will need to be done and the problem is that we have got an elderly congregation and although the congregation isn’t decreasing at a rapid rate, it is going to be a problem.

“We are looking to the future. For the size of our congregation, the buildings are too big but Boardman House is a civic amenity, it’s not only used by the church but also Age UK and lots of groups meet there - looking at how we accommodate them is one part of the jigsaw.”

The church first discovered that repair work was needed in Boardman House, which was a former Sunday school used by up to 1,000 people, after a property inspection in 2010.

Since then, a number of meetings have taken place. A task group was formed, called Redeveloping our Future (ROF), and an architect recently gave a presentation.

As all final decisions at the United Reformed Church are made by members of its 100-strong congregation, the church will now give the options for “The Way Ahead” to its members at its next meeting on March 4.

It is hoped the church will continue to have a visible, active and developing Christian presence in the city centre, to hold worship services in the current premises and to provide premises for the wider community.

Mr Napier added: “No decisions have been made yet, we are just in the middle of discussions about where we go from here, the way ahead.”

He said it is not yet decided what resolutions will be put to the congregation on March 4.

Are you trying to save a community facility in the area where you live? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk.

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