Plans unveiled to turn 1,000-year-old Essex village church into community centre

St John the Evangelist Church in Langley, which is at the centre of a tug-of-war between two community groups

St John the Evangelist Church in Langley, which is at the centre of a tug-of-war between two community groups

Archant

More than 90 visitors attended an exhibition at the weekend detailing plans to turn an 1,000-year-old village church into a multi-use community centre.

Villagers in Langley look over plans to transform the church into a multi-use community centreVillagers in Langley look over plans to transform the church into a multi-use community centre

In the first of three exhibitions to be held about the project, residents of Langley were able to inspect the scheme to convert St John the Evangelist Church into a community hub for events, cinema, and concerts on Saturday (January 30).

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst was among visitors to see the plans at the church - which is thought to be the highest above sea level in the county - as well as a proposal for a new sports pavilion on the village green.

Attendees also enjoyed displays on the history of the church and a specially commissioned village video, written, produced and directed by Langley teenager George Spiller alongside refreshments.

With church attendances falling away nationally and locally, campaigners behind the project believe this is the last chance to safeguard the 1,000-year-old building and make it sustainable in the future.

Villagers in Langley look over plans to transform the church into a multi-use community centreVillagers in Langley look over plans to transform the church into a multi-use community centre

As covered in the Reporter last week, the proposal is part of a tug-of-war in the village with another plan to replace existing community centre facilities on the village green also on the table.

The group behind the church scheme are in full support of a new sports pavilion on the village green, but want to preserve the church for future generations by making it multi-use for community activities.

However, the Langley Community Centre Committee say the church is “unlikely to close”, all community events should take place on the village green, and that the two projects cannot co-exist.

Both groups agree that villagers should get the opportunity express their opinion on the position of the new centre, and an independent postal vote will be held to decide the outcome.

Further opportunities to see the plans at Langley Church are available on Wednesday, February 3, 3pm-6pm and Saturday, February 6, 11am-4pm.

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