Sheringham Baptists press ahead with new church project

Churchgoers are driving ahead with plans for a new �1.6m base at Sheringham.

The local baptists are poised to switch from a 60-year-old building on Holway Road to a new complex on Cromer Road.

Detailed plans have just been passed for a modern church with a curved glass atrium frontage.

Tenders for the project will go out after Easter. Work is due to start in the autumn, with the aim of finishing the new church by July 2013.

The new building is being paid for through the sale of the current site, combined with grants and local fund-raising.

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Pastor the Rev Bryan Pickard said the old buildings were holding the church back from its aims to expand its community activities, such as a youth club, after school club, toddler group, youth gospel choir and art group.

But the new scheme was a 'real step of faith' as they needed to find more than �1m.

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Gifts and loans are accounting for �500,000. Negotiations are under way for the sale of the existing church site, which has planning permission for four houses and three flats, while the church is also selling a youth workers house in Garden Road, said leadership team member Tony Rothe.

Local fundraising included gift days, which had raised �117,000 and �30,000 in the past, to jam sales - but all efforts were equally welcome and valuable as people pulled together to achieve the project, he added.

It was hoped the current church would remain available until the new one was finished.

The building design had changed since the initial plans, due to a rethink of the internal layout which also led to a review of the outside, including the feature glass fron.

Mr Rothe said it was more striking and would hopefully attract more interest in the new church at the site, on the former Abbeyfield care home.

The site is three times the size of the current one, originally built in the 1950s and added to during the 60s and 70s, and would double the size of the main worship room to hold 250 people.

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