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The Totnes Heritage Trust’s primary aim for 2022 is to get the development stage of the St Mary’s Church Reordering project underway.

What is the “Reordering project”?

St Mary’s is on Historic England’s ‘At risk’ register. The Victorian floor tiles are breaking up, and the pews are on a timber platform built over shifting Victorian rubble. The proper repair of the building can only be addressed with a programme of very substantial works, and it is makes sense that these should be considered along with changes to make the building more sustainable.

The reordering project provides an opportunity (whilst the floor is up) to address the lack of necessary facilities, such as toilets and adequate heating, and to enable a much wider range of community activities to take place which are currently restricted by the fixed pews.

Why is it necessary?

St Mary’s needs to be attractive, lively and accessible to be sustainable, and is a significant ‘anchor attraction’ for the town with over 300 listed buildings. The project will address the critical repairs needed to make the church fit to serve the town as an attractive major community facility as well as continuing as a place of worship.

What is the development stage of the project?

This is the first part of the project and involves preparing detailed designs and specifications to enable tenders to be obtained for carrying out the reordering works. In preparing the designs consultations are carried out with Historic England and other interested bodies leading to the approval to go-ahead being given by the Diocese of Exeter. This stage will take between 12 to 15 months.

Who is the Totnes Heritage Trust working with?

The trust is working in partnership with the Totnes Parochial Church Council which is the local church organization responsible for the upkeep of St Mary’s. The project includes building and design works as well as heritage engagement and community audience development which will involve many local voluntary organisations.

What is the cost and where is the money coming from?

It is estimated that the cost of this phase of the project will be in the region of £1.350 million and during the development stage the Totnes Heritage Trust will be launching a programme of fundraising

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