Proposal to close St Michael’s Church in Honiton to be debated

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:39 15 February 2018

St Michael's Church, Honiton. Photo by Terry Ife

St Michael's Church, Honiton. Photo by Terry Ife

Archant

A letter sent to the council outlines a draft proposal to close the church as it can no longer be maintained.

Plans to close down Honiton’s former parish church will be discussed at next week’s town council meeting.

A letter sent to the council from the Diocese of Exeter outlines a draft proposal to close St Michael’s Church as it can no longer maintain it.

A report penned by Honiton Town Council’s clerk Mark Tredwin said: “These proposals, if implemented by a pastoral scheme, would have the effect of closing the church for public worship and vesting it in the Exeter Diocesan Board of Finance for care and maintenance, pending a decision on its future.

“Any such decision would be the subject of a second scheme, called a Pastoral (Church Building Disposal) scheme, which would be prepared and published by the Church Commissioners.”

The proposals only affect the church building - rights of access to the churchyard will be retained for visitors.

The uncertainty surrounding the future of St Michael’s Church has been rumbling on for more than five years.

A public meeting held in 2012 heard the building was little-used and in need of repairs costing tens of thousands of pounds.

At the time, it was reported that over three Sunday services, St Paul’s Church attracted an average of 105 worshippers, while a Thursday morning service at St Michael’s attracted an average of just 21 worshippers - including two priests and an organist.

At a council meeting in November last year, it was confirmed that St Michael’s would be unable to join other churches across the country to ring bells for Remembrance 2018.

This year’s celebration marks the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War One.

When asked by Cllr Roy Coombs if St Michael’s would be participating in the occasion, local bellringer Richard Howes said it would not as there were ‘serious problems’ with the church’s bells.

Next week’s council meeting starts at 7pm next Monday (February 19).

You can view the agenda here.


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