Our vision for St Mary’s Church is to provide an inspiring, fully-useable and fit-for-purpose place for worship, music, and the arts to serve the community of Totnes, its surrounding district, and our thousands of visitors each year. Our aim is to enable the church to be a living, vibrant place, that meets the needs of all-comers, providing a place for prayer, worship and reflection, but also welcoming a wide variety of community events and activities with a special emphasis on musical events, performing arts and art displays. We will do that by improving the environment, making the building a light, warm, welcoming place, that is accessible to all those attending the church for services, as well as for community and visitor events. We are also seeking to make the upkeep of the church building more sustainable by broadening its use, and its community engagement, through seeking to accommodate a wider array of musical and arts events and performances.
St Mary’s Church has undertaken extensive research and consultation to establish what the real needs of both the church and community are and how heritage agencies may view the proposed changes. The community consultation events, so-far, have revealed:
Support for the need for sympathetic change and enhancement of the building, which would offer better facilities and improved accessibility.
A general consensus that the north aisle would be the best place for the provision of any new facilities.
An assessment that any improvements should include a dedicated refreshment servery area, improved heating, renewed flooring and warm lighting.
A desire for more space for concerts and performances.
A love for the church pews, and also an understanding of the restrictions they pose.
Strong support for increased sympathetic community use, in a way that does not prevent the church from fulfilling its primary role in Christian worship, and as a quiet sanctuary of peace and prayer.
Numerous design options for reordering the church have been considered by the
church and discussed with heritage bodies including Historic England, the Exeter
Diocesan Advisory Committee, the Victorian Society, the Church Buildings Council, the
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and South Hams District Council.