Priti joins Birch Church campaigners
Witham MP, Priti Patel, has met with local campaigners in Birch who are battling to save St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church from demolition. Last year the Church Commissioners decided to proceed with demolishing the 170 year old church and replace it with a memorial garden. With demolition works due to commence shortly, the Save Our Spire (SOS) campaign has been set up to campaign for the Church Commissioners to rethink their plans.
Support for Birch Church has come from the local area and beyond and Priti has been highlighting concerns about the demolition plans to the Church Commissioners and has asked them to suspend these actions. Priti, who has supported residents in making representations opposing demolition plans for the last decade, said:
“Birch Church is a much-loved building and an important landmark visible for miles. The spire is iconic and I understand the anger local people feel with the Church Commissioners for deciding to demolish it. The latest campaign set up by the local community has galvanised a high level of support in a matter of days and has my backing in pressing the Church Commissioners to pause their demolition plans and work with the community to find a sensible way forward, to preserve this site.”
Loess Overbury-Tapper, Co-Chair of the Save Our Spire campaign, said: “This is a stunning local landmark which is an icon for and identifies the village of Birch. The church is built in a beautiful conservation area and is home to both bats and owls and almost certainly other significant species. Our survey of local residents has returned 88% in favour of minimally keeping the spire, with just 9% favouring the demolition and the memorial garden. With this huge majority public vote, we are now pursuing dialogue with the Church Commissioners so that we can work with them to find a means to preserve our beautiful church.
“Anyone who feels strongly about the destruction of listed buildings, please look at our website www.saveourspire.com for more information.”