Sudbury: Access to St Peter’s Church could be extended

GLOSSY; Sudbury Shop Talk feature. St Peters Church with the Gainsborough statue.; Pix Phil Morley 2

GLOSSY; Sudbury Shop Talk feature. St Peters Church with the Gainsborough statue.; Pix Phil Morley 29/6/07 - Credit: Archant

HOPES are rising that an important town centre church could be opened more often to allow people access to the building.

Situated in the heart of Sudbury, St Peter’s is a much-used location, including for a monthly farmers’ market, craft and book fairs, bazaars and concerts.

Next month the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sudbury Choral Society will be lifting the rafters with their music.

Now the Friends of St Peter’s are investigating the possibility of opening up the church, on Market Hill, even more.

The latest move by the group comes in the wake of the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) – which cares for hundreds of internationally-significant churches in the UK including more than 30 in the region – appealing for communities and volunteers to help increase access to, and protect, the vital cultural landmarks.

Heritage groups have backed the call and stressed if the buildings were not used and cherished, important links to our past could be lost. Roger Green, chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s, said: “We are looking at the possibility to allow the church to be opened to the public when there is no event taking place, as people should be able to see the beautiful interior as often as possible.

“These buildings are part of our heritage and St Peter’s is crucial to the life of Sudbury.”

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The church was the first town centre building of its kind in Britain to be declared redundant and is thought to have one of the highest footfalls in the country.

Peter Gray, town councillor for Sudbury South and a representative of the town council on the Friends, said: “I know that it is something the Friends have been keen to do for some years.

“It’s right in the town square and a beautiful building, so why not let people in? There appears to be a demand and it would get more use out of the building.”

On May 29, 1976, ownership of the building passed to the CCT which cares for the building and has spent many thousands of pounds in doing so. In the same year the Friends was formed with the aim of keeping the building open, in good order and enabling its use for the benefit of the community.

The Friends of St Peter’s is registered as a charity and has an active website at www.stpetersudbury.co.uk.

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