£450k church building plan in Burgh-le-Marsh bucks trend

The Rev Colin Bowden and Mayor Coun Neil Cooper with an artist's impression of the Burgh Baptist Church expansion. ANL-160125-115606001

The Rev Colin Bowden and Mayor Coun Neil Cooper with an artist's impression of the Burgh Baptist Church expansion. ANL-160125-115606001

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A £450,000 expansion plan at a church in Burgh-le-Marsh is bucking the trend of closing chapels.

The Baptist Church has become the first one in East Lindsey to apply to get bigger.

Mayor Coun Neil Cooper told other guests at the launch of the project on Friday that he had been heartened by the achievement of the church.

He said: “Ian Carrington (East Lindsey District Council planning officer) told me this is the first occasion an application had been made to increase the size of a chapel.

“Normally they want to close one and turn it into a residence because the congregation has ceased.

“This is quite the reverse here in Burgh-le-Marsh when you have a big range of people of all ages. It’s important to recognise a lot of good work the Baptist Church does in terms of debt counselling and community nursing and all of the other services it provides.”

There has been a Baptist Church in Burgh-le-Marsh for 400 years and the congregation has met at the present premises since 1836.

The Rev Colin Bowden addressed the gathering in the room that had been cleared for afternoon tea, which until now has also been used for services and other functions.

He said: “We just were not big enough. The expansion, including a glass fronted Atrium, will triple the size of the church and feature a dedicated worship area for 150 people, a conference room, improved toilet facilities, improved admin office, purpose-built kitchen and new hospitality area.

“There will also be a purpose-built office for the town clerk and the town council will also have access to conference room facilities.

“We have had to overcome a number of obstacles, but God has been on our side and reaction from neighbours has been positive.

“Some parking issues have been overcome and three trees with a preservation order removed - one was brought down by storm and a 25-year-old council document permitting removal was suddenly found and upheld. We also gained planning permission first round.

“We have funds for £255,000 and the remainder will come from pledges from members and from loans from the Baptist Building Fund.”

Geographically the building is at the centre of Burgh-le-Marsh.

Mr Bowden said: “We aim to deliver a one-stop shop at the hub of our community.

“The whole community will benefit from increased facilities.”