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Community urged to back fundraising drive for St Peter’s transformation

David Holland, Simon Barrett,  Lord Phillips, Mark Ellis and Lesley Ford-Platt outside St Peter's Church    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

David Holland, Simon Barrett, Lord Phillips, Mark Ellis and Lesley Ford-Platt outside St Peter's Church Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A committee hoping to help transform a historic Sudbury landmark into a leading cultural venue is asking the town’s residents to get behind the fundraising campaign.

A CGI showing an impression of St Peter’s interior looking west with the proposed changes Picture: MALCOLM FRYER ARCHITECTSA CGI showing an impression of St Peter’s interior looking west with the proposed changes Picture: MALCOLM FRYER ARCHITECTS

St Peter’s hopes to become a thriving community hub fit for the 21st-century through a £2.5million regeneration which will enable the former church to attract new audiences.

A fundraising committee, headed by Sudbury stalwart Lord Phillips, has been set up with a target of raising £215,000 locally after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) initially awarded £275,500 to the project in April.

Sudbury and Babergh district councillor Simon Barrett has been made chairman of the committee tasked with hitting the fundraising target, which would then unlock the second phase of HLF funding of around £2m.

The planned improvements include the installation of toilets, an enhanced kitchen, a new front entrance, roof repair, heating, general structural work and a mezzanine floor at the back of the west end of the building.

David Holland, Simon Barrett, Lesley Ford-Platt, Lord Phillips and Mark Ellis outside St Peter's Church    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Holland, Simon Barrett, Lesley Ford-Platt, Lord Phillips and Mark Ellis outside St Peter's Church Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Barrett said the project was “important and exciting” for the town and wider area.

“There is currently nowhere in Sudbury that can seat around 250/300 people,” he said. “So as a venue, whether it’s music events or something else, there’s nowhere at the moment that will hold that number of people.

“That opens up a great opportunity for far more wide and varied shows to held. As a project, it’s very important for Sudbury and very exciting.”

Mr Barrett added that the improvements will also enable the building to be used by the whole community for a range of activities.

“The thing holding it back at the moment is the lack of toilets and the kitchen,” he said. “We want the building to have a greater role in Sudbury life and be for all the people of the town to use.

“It’s restricted in its present form due to the lack of facilities.”

Mr Barrett said a series of fundraising events would take place in the future but the committee is also actively seeking support from the community.

“We will be out and about looking for donors,” he said. “There will be some events, perhaps things a bit different to raise money.

“The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), a national charity, is also making it their main project for 2020 which is really big.”

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