St Laurence, Eastwood
St Laurence and All Saints church, Eastwood, Essex (photos), a Grade I listed medieval church is under threat from Southend airport's lack of compliance with recently tightened safety regulations (basically, the church is too close for comfort).
The church has a 12th century nave, with some reused Roman brick, rare 13th century doors, an even rarer (?unique) 15th century wooden priest's chamber, and traces of medieval painted decoration visible on the old plaster walls. The airport provides much needed local employment, and is within the Thames Gateway area, the largest regeneration zone in the country.
The airport has put forward several option, including demolition and moving the church just over 100 yards north (a technological first in this situation?), and truncating the spire.. What will happen? These things take time.
Update 1 February 2004 The Council rejected the planning application last year. A trial is taking place of a road diversion which may go some way towards solving the safety problems.
Update 2 May 2003 The minutes of the English Heritage Commission (the top body) now published for March, show that it has come out against demolition, and believes that a public enquiry should be held before moving the church is given the go-ahead. Click here for link, and scroll down to item 4.8.
Update 23 April 2003 Southend Borough Council have rejected the proposal by an overwhelming majority. Presumably it will now go to appeal.
1 Feb 2004 Road diversion
2 May Minutes of English Heritage Commission added
23 April Update on decision of Southend Borough Council
6 Feb Link to the 'church explaining their side of the story' created
1 Feb List of links created
Southend airport's putting its case and more from Southend airport
The church explaining their side of the story - and that even if the church were moved the spire would have to come off
20 May 2002 PCC votes against airport plans
April 2002 English Heritage - Historic Built Environment Advisory Committee
16 Jan 2002 Grade I listing
14 Jan 2002 Worshippers speak out - petition against plan
18 Dec 2001 Views of local councillor - there are alternatives to moving or demolishing the church
26 Oct 2001 Moving church could cost millions