Monday, 06 December 2021

Makeover of village church approved

LEWKNOR church is to be modernised.

South Oxfordshire District Council has granted planning permission for the work at St Margaret’s.

The church says the current layout of the building, which is Grade I listed, is inflexibile but the changes will make it more suitable for a wider range of the church activities.

The “reordering” will create a meeting room/teaching space/hall, kitchen, toilets, storage space, a dais/stage, mezzanine floor and a history centre.

The church will also have a new heating system, flexible lighting system, sound system and disabled access.

The architects stated: “The church is in reasonably good condition for its age apart from the inflexibility of the interior.

“Proposals for the reordering have therefore been designed with the intent to accommodate the activities that are either struggling to take place, or not taking place at all, within the existing church.

“The main reason is to allow it to be used by the much-loved primary school next door as a hall and dining hall during the week. 

“The school needs to use the church to provide a warm lunch to all children up to year two.”

The access to the building will also be improved and the steps removed.

The architects said: “The proposals will allow the church to provide a range of spaces that will be suitable for many uses and further establish the church’s role in the community.

“In these days, where many significant historic churches are declining into purposeless through lack of attendance and use, linking the church to the school will provide important usefulness in the future and will give it or extend its lease of life.”

Council planning officer Simon Kitson said the works would not harm the “special architectural and historic interest” of the building or the character and appearance of the wider conservation area.

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