Church near Alton Water could get shop and café

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tattingstone St Mary's Church. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A shop and café could open in a church near Suffolk beauty spot Alton Water. 

The village of Tattingstone is being consulted on a new community project inside St Mary's Church, and it is hoped the project will be completed by the end of this year. 

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tattingstone St Mary's Church. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Andy Airey, chair of the Tatingstone Community Shop Steering Group, said there might be concerns about a "place of prayer" used for another purpose.

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tattingstone village not far from the church. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

But he thinks people will see how it will draw people to the church and support the community, especially as it lost its shop in 2000.

The Orange Box was a Post Office, shop and pub that was demolished for new housing in 2001.

The bar at Waterloo House, Tattingstone, known as the Orange Box in 1988. Picture: OWEN HINES

The bar at Waterloo House, Tattingstone, known as the Orange Box in 1988. Picture: OWEN HINES

Simon Harley, Suffolk county councillor for the Peninsula, was hesitant at first but as the group could not find another location, he sees the opportunity for the church. 

The St Mary's churchwarden said: "There will be mutual benefit and it will support the church and the community and the church will work with the community. 

Andy Airey

Andy Airey, chair of the Tatingstone Community Shop - Credit: Andy Airey

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tattingstone Village sign. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"With fewer people going to church it would certainly put a lot of pressure to keep it open," he added. 

Mr Airey explained the project is looking at two phases for opening. 

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

A view of Tattingstone Village looking towards the church. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The first would be just the shop and some seating outside during the summer for cafe drinks. 

"We would hope to raise some more funds and open by the end of the year," he said. "I'm really excited for the village and it will be great if we can get it up and running." 

A second phase for a proper cafe would mean having a toilet and building more onto the site.

The steering group is also looking at getting villagers to become co-owners of the shop. 

Alton Water. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alton Water. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"It's about how we can get all of this cost-effectively," Mr Airey said.

The shop and cafe would be run by volunteers at first but would then if it is successful, look to hire a part-time manager. 

"There are lots to explore still," Mr Airey added. "One of our main focuses is to support local suppliers with quality goods as well as reducing our carbon footprint."

Alton Water. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Alton Water. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He also hopes the community will suggest more ideas and give feedback during the open days. 

The shop consultation is on Thursday, February 10 from 12pm to 4pm, Friday, February 11 from 10am to 4pm, and Saturday, February 12 10am to 2pm in Tattingstone St Mary's Church.

Tattingstone Church. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Tattingstone's church. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown