Peterborough church prepared to spend thousands of pounds defending itself over renovations appeal

St Botolph's Church, Longthorpe. EMN-170331-183214009
St Botolph's Church, Longthorpe. EMN-170331-183214009
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A Peterborough church is expecting to spend thousands of pounds defending itself after being taken to the highest authority in the Church of England over a planned renovation.

St Botolph’s Church in Longthorpe believes it will cost at least £2,000 to hire a barrister who can fight its case after an appeal by The Victorian Society to the Court of Arches in Canterbury.

The society is strongly against the renovation of the chancel - where the altar is located - as part of a £286,000 revamp of the church which has previously been given the green light by The Church of England’s Consistory Court.

The plans include changing Victorian pews for individual chairs, a new self standing altar and the lowering of part of the floor.

Victorian Society director Christopher Costelloe said: “We were advised that the appeal against the decision had a good chance of success given the proposals are harmful to the building which is Grade One listed.

“It’s a very comprehensive reordering proposal.

“The focus of our objection is the proposed changes to the chancel which is of architectural and historical importance.”

The church in Thorpe Road wrote in its newsletter that it would make the funds available to fight the appeal.

It said in a statement it was truly blessed to have a wonderful church building in which to worship, adding: “Each generation has the responsibility of maintaining the fabric, using it well for worship and serving the wider community.

“The proposed reordering plans have been drawn up with this in mind. We are aiming to make the church fit for the needs of the current generation just as previous generations have adapted and changed it for their needs.”