Bid to save church from subsidence

Pauline Main, Minister at Summertown United Reformed Church, pictured next to the wooden beams that are currently supporting the building

Pauline Main, Minister at Summertown United Reformed Church, pictured next to the wooden beams that are currently supporting the building

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

MEMBERS of a church which is propped up by wooden buttresses are hoping to find a more permanent solution to subsidence threatening its future.

Summertown United Reformed Church in Banbury Road has to rely on the six beams to support its porch or it will continue to sink into the ground.

The church was built in 1893, but subsidence means the porch is now separating itself from the main building and sinking.

A structural report into the church, carried out in 2005, concluded there was no alternative other than to demolish the existing porch.

Now members have come up with a plan they hope will also help open its doors to the community at the same time.

Because the current entrance makes it difficult for those in wheelchairs to access the building, the church has decided to design a completely new porch rather than recreate the original.

Minister Pauline Main said: “Until we put up the wooden beams we weren’t allowed to open the front door, so when I first came here in 2007 we had to go in through the church’s side entrance.

“The repairs need to be done and we want to open up the church. We will also improve the worship space so it can be used by the community.

“We have got lots of groups which use the back rooms so there is quite a lot of call for community use of the building.”

Mr Main said the church needs to raise £500,000 to allow the scheme to go ahead, of which about two thirds has already been raised from grants and an anonymous donation.

Portland Road resident Ian Scargill, one of the church’s elders, said: “The problem with the porch has prompted us to think about carrying out a more ambitious scheme which will involve renovating and modernising the building.

“It is getting worse and if the situation continued we wouldn’t be able to use the front of the church at all.

“You can now notice the cracks from the inside of the church and they are getting wider.”

A planning application has been submitted to Oxford City Council for the new scheme, which will be considered by officers.

Our top stories:

Police granted power to evict tenants from property in Banbury

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:27pm Tuesday 26th May 2015

TENANTS of a property in Banbury could be barred from entering their home by police.

Hundreds say goodbye to former Blackbird Leys councillor Val Smith during funeral

Oxford Mail:

2:10pm Tuesday 26th May 2015

HUNDREDS of mourners lined Blackbird Leys Road to pay their respects to former councillor Val Smith this morning.

Three-vehicle crash blocks lane on A34 near Botley interchange

Oxford Mail: A34 traffic alert

12:24pm Tuesday 26th May 2015

A CRASH is currently blocking a lane on the A34 near the Botley Interchange.

One lane closed on A40 near Witney due to pot hole repairs

Oxford Mail: A40 alert

11:56am Tuesday 26th May 2015

A LANE on the A40 near Witney has been closed this morning for essential pot hole repairs.

Video: How the Vicarage Road triple murder case unfolded over the weekend

Oxford Mail:

12:13pm Tuesday 26th May 2015

A video review of how the murders of Jan and Derin Jordon and Phil Howard, plus the subsequent manhunt for Jed Allen, unfolded.

Didcot murders: Post mortem results not expected until tomorrow

Oxford Mail:

11:22am Tuesday 26th May 2015

RESULTS of post mortem examinations on the three people killed in Didcot are not expected until tomorrow, police said.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:33pm Wed 2 Jul 14

profgeof2000 says...

IF the side doot has wheel chair access - i.e is wide enough - then demolish the front (whcih should not be that expensive - and use side door..forever if needed! All door does if give access to the church...period!
IF the side doot has wheel chair access - i.e is wide enough - then demolish the front (whcih should not be that expensive - and use side door..forever if needed! All door does if give access to the church...period! profgeof2000
  • Score: -3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree