Landmark to lost churches is doomed

TWO architects' dream of recreating the lost churches of Dunwich at their original sites out at sea as a landmark for the East have been dashed.Anne Niemann and Johannes Ingrisch are still hoping that an alternative site might be found for one of their church sculptures, and will be looking at various locations along the Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk coast to see if they can find a viable place.

TWO architects' dream of recreating the lost churches of Dunwich at their original sites out at sea as a landmark for the East have been dashed.

Anne Niemann and Johannes Ingrisch are still hoping that an alternative site might be found for one of their church sculptures, and will be looking at various locations along the Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk coast to see if they can find a viable place.

The Munich-based architects had hoped to build five steel rod sculptures of the churches at the lost city of Dunwich, which now lies beneath the waves, but a host of potential difficulties have put paid to the idea.

They were due to explain the outcome of their feasibility studies into the project at a meeting for Dunwich residents last night .


You may also want to watch:


"There was no community support," admitted Mr Ingrisch.

"We would have to deliver a huge amount of work to get permission to build there and still it's not sure we can get permission."

Most Read

But places which have become a focus for regeneration, such as Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft or Felixstowe, could be potential candidates for the idea.

The East of England Development Agency today announced the two Landmark East projects it had earmarked for its strong support - a bridge of reeds spanning the A14 in Cambridge and a movable 'dragonfly' bridge concept, entitled Watermarking.

Four projects, including the Dunwich churches, won a share of nearly £250,000 to carry out feasibility studies into the schemes.

Ms Niemann and Mr Ingrisch will use what is left of their funding to explore alternative locations for a generic sculpture elsewhere on the coast to symbolise the impact of coastal erosion. They are expected to report back in September.

"The Dunwich feasibility study concluded that, although the churches are technically feasible, the project faces a range of issues. Dunwich is an area with a large number of environmental designations including Site of Special Scientific Interest and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty," explained EEDA.

"There are also significant transport and infrastructure issues which, when combined with the environmental issues and strength of public feeling, would make it difficult for the project to attract funding.

"However, feedback from members of the public over the last year indicated widespread admiration for the sculptures and their evocative depiction of the impact of coastal erosion."

The feasibility studies revealed that the Dunwich sculptures would have cost anything from £1 million for a single 25m sculpture using less steel piles than originally envisaged, to up to £20 million to build all of them, depending on factors including the depth of the water. Originally, the architects had looked at building 50m landmarks, but reduced that by half.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter