In 1984 the church and village community raised the equivalent in today’s values of about a million pounds to renovate St Leonard’s. A generation later, the church congregation is as large as ever and needs more space and adequate facilities, especially for those with disabilities.
To that end on November 30th St Leonard’s will complete the purchase of a significant part of the Red Lion car park as the site of a new church hall, office and other facilities. The existing church hall will be retained until the new site is fully operational.
The timing of the new building will depend on the rate at which we can raise the necessary funds and may take several years. The first step will be wide consultation with neighbours, users of the current hall, village needs and requirements over what should be provided. Our hope is that this will be a major new asset to the church and the village and those who visit the churchyard.
The new building is most likely to be sited towards the rear of the car park. It is also hoped that the new layout will enhance the role and presence of the village war memorial. Particular provision will need to be made for those with disabilities and older people.
We have had a lot of support in the first steps of this venture from both the Bishop of Dorchester and Oxford Diocese, the planners, the Parish Council, the History Society and Hawthorn Leisure, the owners of the Red Lion to whom we wish all the best.
In the meantime parking will be by permission of the PCC and permits can be applied for from the Parish Office, 883325.
Duncan Fraser, Vicar