Relief for church goers in north Norfolk village as controversial toilet plans get the green light

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. Rev Barry Tomlinson.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. Rev Barry Tomlinson.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Relief is on the way for church goers at a north Norfolk village following a two-year battle amid fears that a new loo might disturb a family grave.

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. The war memorial.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. The war memorial.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Concerns were raised by parishioners about installing a toilet and refreshment facilities in the vestry at All Saints Church, Thornage - despite the nearest public amenities being almost three miles away in Holt.

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. The remains of Mabel Rose Barnard and h

Thornage church is to get a new toilet and tea-making point. The remains of Mabel Rose Barnard and her husband. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

But now a judge of the Church of England's Consistory Court has given it the go-ahead.

The Reverend Barry Tomlinson, has been the vicar at the Grade II listed building for four years and runs a fortnightly service there. He said the decision could not have come sooner: 'This has been a desperate need for us.

'The nearest public toilets to us are two and a half miles away at Holt, and that's assuming you can find a place to park there.


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'There is no other community space available within the village - not even a school - and we do hold concerts, weddings and funerals here. At a recent concert we had school children practicing. Neighbours have been kind but it's one thing letting one lady use your toilet, it's another thing when you have 18 children queuing up.'

The proposal was opposed by two parishioners who claimed the facilities were not needed and the work was 'disrespectful' to the vestry built in memory of those lost in World War One. There is currently a memorial plaque for the veterans outside.

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And four members of the Barnard family were concerned for a grave, where the remains of Mabel Rose Barnard and her husband lie buried close to a trench which will accommodate the toilet's drainage pipes.

Judge and chancellor of the Diocese of Norwich, Rose Arlow, said: 'The petitioners acknowledge the Barnard family's concerns, but are clear that there would be no disturbance of the family grave.

'In this case, I am satisfied that the proposed works would not result in harm to the significance of the church. That is clearly a view shared by both English Heritage and the local planning authority.

'These proposed facilities will go a long way to help this building to fulfil its role as such a centre in the village of Thornage.'

• What do you think of the plans? Write to the Letter's Editor at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

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