MP James Heappey backs sponsored walk for Access for All church project

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 September 2018

Wells MP James Heappey, founder of the Access for All group Paul Passey (right) and Axbridge residents before the walk. 	Picture: Paul Passey

Wells MP James Heappey, founder of the Access for All group Paul Passey (right) and Axbridge residents before the walk. Picture: Paul Passey

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Around 100 people took part in a sponsored walk to raise money for a town project to improve access to a historic church.

St John the Baptist parish church in Axbridge.             Picture: Google Street View.St John the Baptist parish church in Axbridge. Picture: Google Street View.

The Access For All At Axbridge Church group is working with the town’s parochial church council in a bid to make St John the Baptist Church accessible to wheelchair-users entering via the north side of the grade-II listed building.

Plans have been submitted by the Parochial Church Council of Axbridge to Sedgemoor District Council for a new doorway to be built at St John the Baptist’s church rooms in The Square.

A new landing, stairlift and steps in the hallway of the church rooms are also included in the plans, alongside a refit of two windows on the north side of the building and a fire door on the first floor.

The walkers were joined by Wells MP James Heappey.

The founder of the Access For All group, Paul Passey, said: “It was great to see James pay us a visit on Saturday and we had people from 15 different groups in the town taking part in the four-and-a-half-mile Axbridge Steps Out walk.

“We would like to give thanks to the Friends of Axbridge Church, the town’s pageant and carnival groups, including businesses from the area which all raised funds for our church rooms project.”

The church group is looking to raise £4,000 to fund the project, and so far has around £1,600 invested in it.

Paul said: “The plans to a degree restore the north wall of church rooms to its original design, back to when the building was an inhabited cottage.

“I urge Sedgemoor to grant permission for this socially-necessary improvement.”

This is the second stage of a two-part project by the church council, which saw its plans for a walkway to the east side of the building approved by Sedgemoor last year.

An Axbridge Town Council spokesman said: “The council supported these applications as they will be of benefit to the community – both in improving the facilities and to allow easy access for all, including residents and visitors with disabilities who wish to visit the church.”

A listed building consent form was also submitted with the application due to the nature of making amendments to a grade-II listed building.

Sedgemoor District Council will make the final decision.

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