St Peter’s church gets £100k Babergh council grant
PUBLISHED: 05:30 10 March 2019
Sudbury’s landmark St Peter’s church which is a the centre of £2.5million regeneration scheme has received a six-figure cash boost from Babergh District Council.
St Peter’s Cultural and Arts Centre in the heart of the town secured £100,000 from the council’s business rates pot yesterday at its cabinet meeting.
It is a big step forward for the cause in securing £500,000 matchfunding 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.
“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 hosts 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 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.
Babergh leaders made it clear that £500,000 of their 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.”