Universal Access to St Peter's

Picture of the bell tower at St Peter's, Abbots MortonUniversal Access update December 2015

St Peter’s Abbots Morton Parochial Church Council (PCC) is keen to update the parish on how the church is progressing with its plans for universal access to the church.

The PCC has been diligently looking at access as a whole, including visual, hearing and physical accessibility. In the past year we have obtained information about hearing loop possibilities, and large print service booklets are available.

In regard to the physical access to the church, our first thoughts of installing a wheelchair access with two car parking spaces had to be abandoned after public consultation. Following this, the PCC commissioned the church architect and a surveyor to suggest alternative options. The architect's appraisal was considered at the PCC's last meeting on 1st December.

None of the options are easy because of:

  1. the height needed to be climbed from the road to the church entrance,
  2. the legal maximum gradient for a wheel chair,
  3. the visual impact of any access at the heart of a Conservation Village,
  4. the fact that the churchyard is bordering a Scheduled Ancient Monument (the sunken path to the left of the steps) and
  5. the potential costs may be well beyond those of the church tower repairs.

We hope there can be a solution, but arriving at that solution will take time to arrive. The Diocese of Worcester has to agree with any proposal before it will grant a Faculty (church planning permission) and Wychavon District Council planning consent would also be needed – and, of course, the community need to be content.

Whatever new option we may propose will be put to a public consultation of the community in due course.

In the meantime, we ask for your patience and we will continue to keep you appraised as we have any news.

The Reverend Richard Thorniley, Rector of St Peter’s Abbots Morton