Historic gems could be at risk of major decay

AT RISK St Faith's Church in Havant   '''     Picture: Malcolm Wells (122041-7668)
AT RISK St Faith's Church in Havant ''' Picture: Malcolm Wells (122041-7668)
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A CRUMBLING roof and damp problems are leaving two churches in danger of being lost forever.

English Heritage has published its list of historic buildings that are at risk of being lost through neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Two new additions to this year’s Heritage at Risk register are the 153-year-old St Luke’s Church in Greetham Street, Southsea, and St Faith’s Church in Havant, which dates back at least 900 years.

Officials say congregations in old churches face significant problems as failing roofs, broken gutters and crumbling stonework require large amounts of funding.

Councillor David Guest, in charge of regeneration in Havant, said the future of many old buildings such as St Faith’s Church was bleak unless funding could be found.

He said: ‘Unless people in the community fund it and support it, it will disappear. It’s a dreadful shame.’

But church leaders are confident the money can be found.

Archdeacon of Portsdown the Ven Joanne Grenfell said: ‘We are aware of both of these issues and both parishes are already proactive in seeking to repair and develop their buildings.

‘Some temporary work has already been done to secure the roof at St Faith’s, Havant.

‘In the longer term, the parish is aware that more work needs to be done.

‘They are in regular conversation with English Heritage and are in the process of applying for grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

‘The first phase of any development will be about repairing the roof, but the second phase will be to make the building more available for the community.’

She added: ‘We’re also aware of the damp problems at St Luke’s. We’re consulting with the architect, diocesan bodies and those who use the building about the best way to restore it and develop it for future use.’

Buildings remaining on the register, including Wymering Manor in Portsmouth and St Mary’s Church at Portchester.