October 21st, 2016

Community needs help with ‘deplorable’ gates

Community needs help with ‘deplorable’ gates Community needs help with ‘deplorable’ gates
Restoration bid - Len Gale, Tony and Alison Cragg, Rowan Parker and Jenny Frith from the Southam Civic Ideas Forum outside the church gates. 18.016.005.leam.jm1
Updated: 12:47 pm, May 06, 2016

A PLEA for help has been made for help to repair historic entrance to Southam’s St James Church.

After a long battle to gain planning permission to repair the broken steps and rusted railings, the Southam Civic Ideas Forum is hoping townspeople support their plans to renovate the ‘eyesore’.

The steps to the church have been slowly worn away over the last 50 years by underground drainage – eventually leading to parts of the steps subsiding and cracking. The railings to the gate entrance have also been victim to years of rust, wear and tear, and neglect.

The group managed to raise £12,000 towards repair costs after an appeal – but forum chairman Len Gale told the Observer it will take a lot more to have the specialist work done.

He said: “We are looking at a total of around £35,000 in order to repair the steps and replace the gates. It will take specialist work from expert conservationists to repair it properly, so it is not work that can be done quickly.

“Currently the gates and steps are in a deplorable state and as they are at a prominent entrance to our town centre they are a disgrace to our community.”

The forum’s planning battle meant a large portion of the £12,000 pot had to be spent on legal and design work and other costs.

Mr Gale added: “We have had to overcome a lot of obstacles just to gain permission to repair the entrance way, and now we have the go ahead, we really need residents to get behind our appeal.

“We have a lot of support from the local councils, organisations that cover all aspects of the town – and even Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has sent us a letter of support.”

The group is also planning to commemorate those making notable pledges with special plaques, – and all donating will have their names inscribed on a scroll kept in the church.

Anyone wanting contribute can call Southam Civic Ideas Forum Chairman via email len.gale@btinternet.com or by calling 01926 817174.