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Vicar of Pinchbeck offers evidence for St Mary’s repairs

The Reverend David Sweeting, Vicar of Pinchbeck. SG040312-111NG.
The Reverend David Sweeting, Vicar of Pinchbeck. SG040312-111NG.

The Vicar of Pinchbeck has presented evidence as to why £5,000 set aside by parish councillors for repairs to the village church is justified.

The Reverend David Sweeting described grade I-listed St Mary’s Church, where repair work is needed on its churchyard wall and gateway, as a building “in which the village can take a legitimate pride”.

At a meeting two weeks ago, parish councillors agreed to ask St Mary’s for a copy of a report by architects which suggested that the cost of repairs could be between £11,000 and £13,000, more than double the amount budgeted for by the council.

But Mr Sweeting said: “A Statement of Significance was produced for renovations to the church shortly after a vestry fire in March 2006 when substantial cleaning and reordering was in progress.

“Some of the really key features of it included the medieval heritage of its stained glass windows, its links with the de Pynchbecke family links and Cromwellian features which include the silverware now on display in Lincoln Cathedral.

“There is also the Victorian refurbishment led by architect William Butterfield who also designed the chapel at Keble College in Oxford so his involvement may give St Mary’s a regional significance as well.”

Pinchbeck Church Council is currently collating a document explaining the necessary repairs for the benefit of the parish council
The Vicar of Pinchbeck, the Reverend David Sweeting

Mr Sweeting told the Lincolnshire Free Press that “Statements of Significance” were used as part of the process by which “permission is sought and granted for all substantive renovations and repairs to church buildings”.

The potential cost of the repairs to St Mary’s were strongly questioned by parish councillors, including former chairman Coun Andrew Bowser who said: “If the church wants it then they are simply going to have to raise the funds. “We simply can’t afford it so let’s find out what needs doing and maybe ask them if they can get more quotes as we haven’t got any money in our budget.

“What if we say ‘Okay’ and then they come back to us and say ‘The rest of the wall needs painting’.

“It could cost £13,000 to be spent on a stone wall, is that what our parishioners want?

“Let’s talk to the church, let’s have meetings with them, let’s see the architect’s report and let’s go right into the details of it.”

In response, Mr Sweeting said: “For the matter of the churchyard wall, I can confirm that in collaboration with its architect, Pinchbeck Church Council is currently collating a document explaining the necessary repairs for the benefit of the parish council.

“A Faculty (legal permission) for these works has already been obtained and tenders have been sought from several suitable stonemasons.

“The parish council may, of course, wish to appoint its own architect to pursue a different schedule of works, although this would require them to make a fresh Faculty application before any works can legitimately proceed.”

• Do you think Pinchbeck Parish Council should pay for the repairs at St Mary’s? Email your letters to jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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