Friday, 20 July 2018

Parking concerns over new church annexe

COUNCILLORS are concerned that a £350,000 extension at a Wargrave church could cause parking problems in

COUNCILLORS are concerned that a £350,000 extension at a Wargrave church could cause parking problems in the village.

An application to build an annexe at St Mary’s Church was submitted to Wokingham Borough Council in September.

The church wants to provide a meeting place for community groups such as the WI, who currently use the nearby Hannen Room.

But at a meeting of Wargrave Parish Council last week, members pointed out that the plans made no reference to parking and they were worried that more parishioners would leave their cars in Station Road and walk to the church.

Chairman Richard Bush: said: “The one thing we raised last time was the car parking arrangements. We felt quite strongly that it had been left off the agenda.”

Councillor Philip Davies added: “I’m concerned with the infrastructure in terms of parking. It’s a situation that can only get worse if it’s not addressed.”

Representatives from the church said the annexe would be used mostly during Sunday services and would not result in a large increase of people using the church.

They said they regularly cater for up to 300 people at big events and haven’t had parking problems in the past.

Rev John Cook, the vicar, said:  “On the whole Sunday parking and walking from Station Road doesn’t affect the state of the roads.”

Councillors said that while the parking was a concern, they supported the development overall.

The 21st Century Project is trying to raise £500,000 towards the cost of the annexe. A new heating system and a creche have already been installed inside the chuch.

Councillor Marion Pope said: “I do have reservations but I can see the need for it, especially from the children’s point of view.”

Borough councillor John Halsall said: “It’s a real compliment to the vicar that we have this thriving church.”

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