CHILDREN could lose their church for good if a £360,000 project to renovate the aged building is not started as soon as possible.

Fundraising to renovate the methodist chapel on Park Street, which houses Bladon Junior Church, has been ongoing since 2010 but villagers have run into a problem.

Due to the close proximity of the busy A4095 to the building, and the lack of free open space around the chapel, they cannot work out how builders will access the site to start renovation.

Resident Karen Squibb-Williams, a barrister, led a public meeting on Thursday to try and come up with a way to save the church, as it will have to be demolished if work does not go ahead.

She said: "There are so many children who use this church. It is a unique and valuable element of Bladon life.

"We have come up with several options, including traffic management, but this will lead to congestion. Work should only take six to seven months though and this project would benefit all who use the church. We need to find a way to make this happen."

Due to receiving a number of grants, Ms Squibb-Williams said there was a time limit for when the group could spend the first £50,000 - it must be used by September.

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council Ian Hudspeth with wife Carolyn attended the meeting as his family lives in Bladon.

He said: "My daughter is 22 now but she used the church all the time. She went to Sunday School there. It's an intricate part of Bladon life."

Mrs Hudspeth added: "It would be heart-breaking to see it go. We have to compromise with this."

An informal vote was cast to find out if the people at the meeting, about 100 in total, would object to traffic management - and therefore congestion - to see the project go ahead. The entire meeting voted for the short-term measures as long as the chapel was saved. The building sits right on the A4095, a busy road used by people all across West Oxfordshire.

Alicia Rumbsy, who has run the junior church for 25 years, said it would be devastating if the project did not go ahead.

The 41-year-old said: "My mum ran the church before me and my husband. My four children go there. We have devoted so much time to it. It's a family."

Bladon Junior Church holds weekly services for children aged four to 20. The group also organises performances and events throughout the year to keep the youngsters entertained.

Residents will be attending a meeting of Bladon Parish Council on Thursday, July 28 at 6.30pm to call for help from members in finding a way to save the chapel.