Church gets OK to move with the times

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By Sutton Coldfield Observer | Friday, March 01, 2013, 09:20

IMPROVED disabled access is just one of the changes set to take place at one of Sutton Coldfield's oldest churches after permission was granted for renovation work to begin.

Holy Trinity Church rector John Routh said lots of compromises had to be made in accordance with the requirements of groups like English Heritage and the Victorian Society, but confirmed that the go ahead was given to begin modernising the church.

He said: "Over the years this church has changed hugely, there have been major renovations in the past.

"All the time this building has had things taken out and new things put in and what we are doing is a continuation of the process for our generation.

"We were not able to do absolutely everything that we wanted to do, but from our perspective we are happy with what's been agreed.

"It might not be in accordance with our original plan in full but it's enough of what we originally had in mind to satisfy us.

"The church has a vision of making itself into an open, welcoming place and quite frankly it isn't like that, we have very poor disabled access.

"We want to have a level access for wheelchairs, prams and so forth to replace the ramps we have which, as a temporary measure, were legal but are not fit to be used regularly.

"We need a new entrance and we have some horrendous toilet facilities, they are rather old and certainly need updating."

As part of the renovation works a new entrance to the North West of the Mill Street church to improve disabled access will be built, modern toilet facilities will be installed and the church's organ is going to be moved to let more light in at the back of the building.

And because the traditional pews "restrict" the ways in the church can be used by the community, Church of England authorities have agreed for them to be removed and replaced with modern, more comfortable seating.

"It's about flexibility," said Mr Routh.

"We want to open the church up to drama and concerts so that it's not just a building used once or twice a week but it's used more often and made available to the community."

One of the issues on which the church had to compromise was the construction of an ultra modern glass entrance.

To avoid altering the architectural significance of the building the entrance will now be constructed using a "mixture of materials so it looks like it has been put there in the 20th century", but retains the character of the original building.

      

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