New vicarage on the cards for Holbeach

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A NEW vicarage is planned for Holbeach amid fears that the current property will discourage a new priest.

Canon John Wickstead will be retiring this year leaving the Lincoln Diocesan Board to find a replacement for the parish.

The diocese feels that the size of the building, along with running costs and the upkeep of the large garden could put a potential replacement off applying for the post.

The diocese has therefore applied to South Holland District Council’s planning department for permission to build a new vicarage.

If given the go ahead, the new building will be in the grounds of the existing vicarage, very close to the town’s All Saints’ Church.

In a letter to the district council, SRA Architects, who are behind the application, said: “The present vicarage is far too large for a parish vicar’s requirement in the 21st century, and the running costs for energy supplies are staggeringly high.

“This, coupled with the contractual obligation of the vicar to pay the upkeep of the grounds from his stipend make this particular post a difficult one to fill once the incumbent retires or moves on.

“The Diocesan Board have not taken this decision lightly, but all other avenues for altering and sub-dividing the existing building have been analysed in various feasibility studies over a number of years, and the conclusion has always been the same.”

The diocese feels that the main problem with the existing vicarage is the layout of the rooms, which are unsuited to the dual needs of a home and a place of work.

The letter said: “Numerous schemes have been designed over the past 20 years in an attempt to split the working aspect from the family side of occupancy, but the impracticalities and cost of doing this have defeated the Diocesan Board.

“Added to this are the poor levels of insulation and the necessity for completely new installations for the wiring and plumbing of the building.”

Canon Wickstead has supported the application, saying the present vicarage is now completely unfit for purpose.

He said: “It was built in 1939 for a clergyman in very different circumstances. The building and grounds are far too large and the house is extremely cold in winter, costing £2,500 a year to heat and light.”