Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting LU NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Delay hits refurbishment of Ludlow's historic St Laurence Church
THREE months after plans for a major refurbishment of Ludlow’s historic St Laurence Church were shown to The Prince of Wales when he visited the town, the scheme has been dealt a setback.
Final touches were being made to a £5 million funding bid with a view to submitting it before Christmas, but following a crunch meeting with Heritage Lottery chiefs, this has been put back until April.
“There have been some changes to the Heritage Lottery Fund strate g y for bids and therefore we have decided to delay and make some changes to the presentation,” said Shaun Ward, who is leading the project for St Laurence.
“It is a very exciting project and we want to make sure the bid is in line with the new strategy.”
But it is understood that the plans that include a new building and require the moving of some graves will not be fundamentally changed.
The Prince of Wales spent nearly an hour in the church when he came to Ludlow and he heard in detail about the the scheme. The prince is noted for his interest in historic buildings.
Shortly after, the St Laurence Church project team met bosses from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The stakes have been raised after a bid led by Ludlow Town Council for a £1.9 million project for the Buttercross was turned down in September.
Following a public exhibition in the summer that concluded an extensive consultation, a radical scheme was chosen, which if successful, will shape the church and town centre for years to come.
The plan would see a new building on the church green alongside the existing church, that dates back nearly 1,000 years. This would be linked to St Laurence’s by walkways, forming a cloister.
It would house a shop, public toilets, an education area, as well as offices that would enable the church to sell its premises in College Street.
However, it is crucial the £5 million bid is successful.
St Laurence Church last had a major interior refit in 1860 and is now overdue for a refurbishment that will including new flooring and heating.
It had been hoped that following approval the work would be completed by 2016 but this is likely to slip.
The church dates back to Norman times and is very important to the economy of Ludlow attracting thousands of visitors each year from the UK and overseas.
It has the status of a great church – the step below a cathedral – which is unusual for such a small town.