Victorian church in Cheltenham to get £3m refit

St Philip and St James LeckhamptonImage copyright Google
Image caption The church in Cheltenham was first opened in 1882

A Victorian church in Cheltenham is to undergo a £3m refit so it can be used by the wider community.

Work will begin this month at St Philip and St James Church, Leckhampton, which opened in 1882.

All the pews will be removed, under-floor heating installed and glassed-in meeting rooms built above office space in special pods.

The scheme is being funded by the sale of a neighbouring property and a fundraising campaign.

Image copyright St Philip & St James PCC
Image caption All the pews will be removed and replaced by “flexible seating”

The church worked with conservation groups and local residents before finalising the plans, according to team rector the Reverend Nick Davies.

“Recently we had to spend over £300,000 fixing the roof and that is a lot of money to spend on a building which we were only able to use for a few hours a week,” he said.

“This will remain a beautiful, awe inspiring, sacred building, but one many more people will be able to use and enjoy on a daily basis.”

The scheme will also involve opening up the west end as a new entrance with a landscaped piazza and car park.

It is hoped the building will be used for concerts, arts events, children’s holiday clubs, community fairs and wedding receptions, as well as church services.

The work is expected to take a year to complete. During that time church services will be held in a local primary school and Cheltenham College chapel.

Image copyright St Philip & St James PCC
Image caption Glassed-in meeting rooms will be built above special office pods

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