Youngsters have big plans for church

HOW about a quiet read or a game of bingo in the beautiful surroundings of a historic church?These were some of the suggestions from Whitehouse Junior School children on how to make the best use of a redundant Ipswich church.

By Amanda Cresswell

HOW about a quiet read or a game of bingo in the beautiful surroundings of a historic church?

These were some of the suggestions from Whitehouse Junior School children on how to make the best use of a redundant Ipswich church.

The pub-goers of the future were prompted to pen letters to the Evening Star, after we revealed proposals to turn St Lawrence's Church in Dial Lane into a nightspot.


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The pupils sent in their ideas after church neighbours argued it could lead to people dancing on the graves of the town's dead.

Ethan Dixon wrote: "I think that the abandoned church should not be a night club because it is disrespectful of the dead." But he welcomed the church being turned into a restaurant.

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His classmate Sammy Marsh wrote: "If they turn the music up loud the people around there will get headaches…also teenagers could get drunk and smash windows."

Meanwhile Alice Dumpleton suggested this possible change of use: "If I was in charge I would make it into a library because it is peaceful and isn't open too late and people won't get drunk."

Other possible uses included a learning centre, cinema, sports shop, coffee shop or art gallery.

Most of the eight and nine-year-olds were against the church being turned into a restaurant bar, although five out of 16 were in favour.

Developers Design Site Limited who lodged the application are applying for the same change of use as that granted to Pals in the Buttermarket Centre.

Sophie Bosanquet wrote: "I think it would be a good idea because it is fun for adults."

Her classmate, John Jones, agreed adding: "I don't think noise would be a problem."

Pupil Cain Garnham went further suggesting the picture from the stain glass window should be projected onto the dance floor.

Class teacher Clare McDonald was delighted with the pupil's response, which was part of their history topic, looking at possible uses of abandoned churches.

"I was really encouraged by the children's enthusiasm and impressed by their answers," she said.

Also as part of the project pupils visited three redundant churches in Ipswich and made models of possible changes of use.

The church became redundant in the early 1970s. It came under the care of Ipswich Historic Churches Trust in 1979.

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