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Major change to 1,000-year-old building

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 09:46 01 August 2010

PLANS are out to create a new £50,000 meeting room within Bungay's ancient Holy Trinity Parish Church.

It a major change to the building, which dates back nearly 1,000 years - the last being the extension of the chancel which took place 84 years ago, in 1926.

PLANS are out to create a new £50,000 meeting room within Bungay's ancient Holy Trinity Parish Church.

It a major change to the building, which dates back nearly 1,000 years - the last being the extension of the chancel which took place 84 years ago, in 1926.

The new room, hailed as an exciting project for Holy Trinity, has already been approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee and the Church Commissioners, and if it gets full diocesan approval it could be in place before Christmas, providing facilities for a Sunday School, parochial church council meetings, meetings of other church groups, and for outside hire.

It will be formed in space at the back of the church, with glazed oak walls being erected below the organ loft, one facing the entrance door and the other facing the altar at the end of the north aisle. Both will have double doors, and the room will be sound-proofed, a separately lit and heated.

Brian Beal, a member of the PCC who is managing the project, said such an improvement for the church had been talked about for 15 years. Now it was set to become reality.

“We are going out to tender on it. Fifteen members of the DAC visited the church and they liked the idea and have accepted our original plans. Our target date for completion is December 1,” he said.

“It will be a sealed room across the length and width of the back of the church under the organ loft. We hope to use European oak to build it, and it has been designed so it won't change the church's structure at all, and will enhance the view looking down to the altar.”

It will also have direct access to the kitchen and toilet created in the former vestry 10 years ago.

The Rev Ian Byrne, Vicar in charge of the Bungay, Barsham with Shipmeadow and Mettingham benefice, said it was “an exciting project,” something that had been on the PCC agenda for years.

“We said do we want to do something about this, and we voted that we did. The church architect, Andrew Lemon, of the Norwich-based Whitworth Co-Partnership, has come up with plans and it has been approved by the DAC, English Heritage and the Church Commissioners,” he said. “Now the plans are being submitted for final approval on design.”

He said some pews at the back of the church would be removed to enable access to the north aisle without going through the new room. Some of the pews would be used for seating in the new room and others would form moveable choir stalls at the front of the church.

“It will change the feel of the church interior quite a lot, and it will be used for all sorts of activities,” he said. “It will change the life of the church.”

The estimated cost was £40,000-£50,000, and Mr Byrne said he hoped the church could use some of the money from the sale of the Trinity Rooms in the early 1990s. It was stipulated it should be used for replacement facilities. There would have to be major fundraising for it as well.

The idea of a meeting room within the church came in the early 1990s and was part of an overall plan which has seen the south aisle roof replaced, a new heating and lighting system installed and complete redecoration of the interior.

Recently, new safer stairs to the roof of the round Saxon tower have been installed, and a flag pole is to be erected so flags can be flown on civic, national and royal occasions.

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