Designs for disused parish church to become first home

Plans have been submitted to repair the roof of an attractive disused parish church near Sleaford to become the owner’s first home.
St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172430001St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172430001
St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172430001

Alice Sumner, who lives in a neighbouring property in Spanby, has been in correspondence with the district council regarding conversion of the hamlet’s semi-derelict St Nicholas’ Church.

Parts of the Grade Two listed building date back to the earlier 14th Century church but most are from the existing 1882 structure.

Her plan is to convert the former church, which has been used for garden storage since it was closed in 1973, to become a one bedroom home with a mezzanine floor living room in the nave, porch, kitchen diner and office below and the bedroom in the chancel. The council had previously given a previous owner outline permission for its conversion in 1990, but Miss Sumner is looking to complete the work.

St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172355001St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172355001
St Michael's Church, Spanby. EMN-220122-172355001

Miss Sumner explains: “I have lived next to St Nicholas my entire life, and hope to make it my first home. I am not a property developer - looking to make a quick profit, and as such, I am willing to fight for what I believe is the best design of the property. Converting the building offers the best opportunity to undo botched repairs and to secure the future viability of the site. But in my opinion, this means that elements will have to be removed or changed. I don’t think this will harm the character of the building, instead, it will allow it to be lived in, enjoyed, and ultimately conserved.

“I firmly believe that although my proposed plans will alter the space, they will ultimately result in an improvement to the appearance and character of the building, and will make sure it’s preserved for another 140 years.”

She adds: “Ultimately, if the church remains as a garden store, it will not be financially viable to undertake such extensive repairs.”

Her first priority is to repair the roof, reinstate the oak bell tower, restore guttering and add six roof lights to sympathetically add light and ventilation.

Original doors will be retained or repurposed, while original Minton tiles will be cleaned and preserved. A toughened glass floor section will be added at the west end of the mezzanine to let in light and allow the vaulted ceiling to be on view as soon as you walk into the nave.

Miss Sumner adds: “The more notable windows will be preserved, whilst the others will be upgraded to make the building a functional living space.

“I believe this mixture of old and new does not harm the significance of the building, particularly when considering that the windows will be finished to a very high standard.”

On the mezzanine she comments: “I genuinely believe that the subdivision allows the space to be enjoyed more fully.

“In addition to this, there would also be a double height section by the staircase. This means as you walk through the kitchen the eye is drawn upwards towards the ceiling, and then as you move onto the mezzanine you get the full effect of the amazing roof space and cinque lobe window.

“I’m also hoping to reinstate the original font, which will then be on view below the glass floor.”