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Sudbury St Peter's moves step closer to revamp with grant boost

PUBLISHED: 08:18 08 March 2019

St Peter's Church, Market Hill, Sudbury, is the centre of £2.5m regeneration plans. Picture: GREGG BROWN

St Peter's Church, Market Hill, Sudbury, is the centre of £2.5m regeneration plans. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An historic Sudbury landmark at the centre of £2.5million regeneration plans has received a vital boost to its cause thanks to a six figure cash boost from the council.

Babergh District Council has awarded a £100,000 grant to St Peter's for its match funding bid. Picture: GREGG BROWNBabergh District Council has awarded a £100,000 grant to St Peter's for its match funding bid. Picture: GREGG BROWN

St Peter’s Cultural and Arts Centre in the heart of the town secured £100,000 from Babergh District Council’s business rates pot on Thursday at the council’s cabinet meeting.

It marks a significant step forward for the cause in securing the £500,000 match funding needed by March 2020 to be able to progress with the second stage of its application for Heritage Lottery Fund grants.

Oliver Forder, chairman of the Friends of St Peter’s said: “Everyone in Sudbury will be delighted with this news and we are very appreciative of the support Babergh is giving us.

“It’s vital to the church but really important to Sudbury because it’s the largest space available for cultural events in the town.

Babergh councillo Frank Lawrenson said preserving Sudbury's heritage assets was vital. Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCILBabergh councillo Frank Lawrenson said preserving Sudbury's heritage assets was vital. Picture: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

“It’s the jewel at the centre of Sudbury – it was designed as a civic church for civic ceremonies and it’s a much loved building.”

The church ceased public worship in 1971, before opening its doors for community events a few years later.

It accommodates around 60,000 people for events each year, representing one of the most visited redundant churches in the country.

The revamp proposals feature plans for a mezzanine floor, toilets for the first time, changes to the west entrance to become more open, a fresh kitchen and a garden revamp.

Mr Forder said some of the renovation and repairs have been needed for “probably 200 years”.

He added: “The most important thing is it will provide us with the resources to increase the reach of St Peter’s to new audiences and hopefully younger audiences.”

Last year Suffolk councils took part in a pilot to retain 100% of the business rates they collected, instead of sending 50% to central government as usual.

Babergh leaders made it clear last summer that £500,000 of its pot would be used for Sudbury regeneration projects, such as those around the Hamilton Road quarter.

Frank Lawrenson, Conservative cabinet member for assets and investment, said: “I think it’s incredibly important that we are seen to support the historic heart of Sudbury.

“It’s a major heritage asset, and we do have a lot of development that’s going to be going on assuming it all goes through in the surrounding areas.

“Preserving these historic monuments for the people of Sudbury is incredibly valid for the heart of the town.”

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