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  • Parish Office

Exciting plans for St Mary's House and the Church

"We are keen to share our hopes and plans for St Mary’s House and the church building. St Mary’s House is a wonderful Grade 2-listed building and a place for community-related recreational facilities. It supports the church building in its mission by offering facilities and a sanctuary for a wide range of activities - lunches, public consultations, yoga classes, leisure activities, meetings, the Ukrainian Hub, parties, bereavement counselling, Poppy’s Pantry café, The Prince’s Trust (Inspire Suffolk), birthday parties, Girlguiding, receptions and private meetings. St Mary’s House is available also for commercial bookings. The Church Shop is there, as is our Benefice Office.
The less good news is that the building is damp. It is in a poor state of repair and is not universally accessible. Concerted action is needed to preserve this marvellous part of our local heritage and to ensure the building remains central to Market Hill and the community, now and well into the future.
Several plans have been considered over at least the last ten years or so to link St Mary’s House more directly with the Church building. However, cost considerations together with heritage and environmental barriers have led to a stringent reassessment of what is possible on a difficult site. A staged plan has now been developed which is both manageable and, with your help, achievable. The first stage involves the refurbishment of St. Mary’s House.
Planning permission for the proposed changes must now be obtained. The plans are on display at the West End of the Church. Subject to obtaining planning permission, a major fund-raising appeal will be launched to supplement the funds already gifted by generous donors, including the late Dr James Harper.
The second stage of the work, which is subject to different approval processes, involves the re-ordering of the West End of St. Mary’s Church and making the most of our beautiful churchyard with more seating, biodiversity zones and a heritage trail.
Your support for both phases of the work is very much needed. The re-development is all about making sure that we have safe, modern and readily accessible facilities to serve the Benefice, the town and the wider community in the best possible way. The work will also contribute to the decarbonisation goals of The Church of England and of East Suffolk Council."

Fr. Nigel Prior

Sketch of proposals for St Mary's House
Sketch of proposals for St Mary's House, by Henry Freeland (Freeland Rees Roberts, Architects)

Sketch of St Mary's House from Market Hill
Sketch of St Mary's House from Market Hill, by James Hutchinson

Please have a good look around our Architect’s plans and display (currently in the foyer of St Mary's House) and at the accompanying leaflet (see below) for more information, explaining our hopes for both historic buildings, subject of course, to different planning permissions.

"We are pleased to announce that, with the help of Bishop Tim Stevens, we are launching a public appeal on Sunday 30th June, at our 10am Parish Eucharist. We will also be inviting our new Patrons, and everyone is invited to stay afterwards for some Adnams 'fizz' and canapes, in the hall in St Mary's House."

Rector & Churchwardens


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