A charitable trust set up by the residents of Thimbleby may be the key to preserving the building and safeguarding its community use.
Friends of St Margaret’s Church in Thimbleby met with David Start of Heritage Lincolnshire and villagers last week to explore creating a Building Preservation Trust.
This would see the Friends group purchase the building of the Diocese of Lincoln for a nominal amount, something the meeting heard the church were keen to happen, and then run it themselves.
But, Mr Start warned residents that, while a trust was simple to set up, it would be a long process , possibly six or seven years, before the building was restored and then, to make it commercially viable and sustainable, it may not be able to be used as a church.
He said: “What I see as a problem is there is a lot of emotive feeling here to keep it as a church.
“It may be able to include worship as an element, but it will be hard.
“You are right at the edge of what will get funding, a small village community and you need a pretty whizz bang idea.
Andrew Bramley, Chairman of the Friends of St Margaret’s was still keen to go ahead with the formation of a Building Preservation Trust though.
He was keen to see an options appraisal carried out by an architect, which would look into all possible uses for the church and recommend the best one to make it commercially viable for the future.
But Mr Bramley said it was possible to make it sustainable and still retain its traditional use.
He added: “We need to look at preserving it and I hope there will be an aspect of worship. If we have to run it, so be it.”
No matter what the Friends do, it looks certain that the church’s spire, will be dismantled and capped this summer.
The church closed on grounds of health and safety because the condition of the spire had deteriorated and mortar was falling from it.
This will only be a temporary measure however as it is a listed building, and whoever owns the church in the future will be charged with rebuilding the spire.
The next key date for the church is February 13 when the Pastoral Committee will begin the formal process of consultation on formally closing the church for good between any parties interested.
Find out more at http://savethimblebychurch.co.uk/
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