St Botolph’s Church could be set for a major £2 million revamp after it unveiled plans to bid for funding.
Members of the church organisation told the more than 100 people attending a launch event last Tuesday about the proposals which will be put to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year.
The Rev Alyson Buxton said the consultation was a method of seeing what the town feels and thinks – particularly about the Boston Stump and Blenkin Memorial Hall.
She said: “What it isn’t is Boston Stump telling the town how it can be a better place.”
They include two options to remove pews from the church to ’open the building up’ - either the ones of either side of the church, or the eight rows across the back.
This will enable better access to the church library which contains historic and first edition copies of various books.
Director of Operations Mike Bartlett said the aim was also to improve digital access and have better ‘staging’ of the collection, including having significant works displayed in the northern aisle.
He said: “At the moment, the library is up there and it’s very difficult to access so we want to really bring out that collection.”
The plans for the church also include ‘improving the environment’ inside the historic building, installing glass doors on the inside to protect against draughts while still keeping the view when entering the building, installing a welcome desk with tourist information and having movable information boards around the inside of the church.
Mr Bartlett said the church wanted to take visitors on a journey through history, but said the boards would not be intrusive.
There are also plans to make more use of the smaller chapel within the church and improve the tower - including the addition of new rails.
Consultation on the plans will launch tomorrow (Thursday) – with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne visiting today to see the plans – and will close on September 5.
Following feedback the plans will be edited and sent for approval by the parochial church council and it is hoped the plans will be finished by November ready to be sent to the HLF.
There are also improvements planned for the Blenkin Memorial Hall to transform it into a ‘flexible visitor, learning and parish centre’ if the bid is successful.
Proposals for the hall include the addition of a soft play area in the shape of the Stump with a slide as the tower.
There are also plans for various ‘digital and physical learning experiences’ covering national curriculum topics such as numeracy (based on the fact the Stump is a calendar church) and history.
There will also be a seven-day-a-week digital visitor information centre in the hall.
Mr Bartlett said the changes could result in the introduction of 10 new opportunities with volunteer support such as tour guides.
There will be three jobs created for including an Education Outreach Officer, a project manager (stage 2) and a project administrator, along with five apprenticeships and two six-month internships
Outside the two buildings and the vicarage there could also be improvements to the grounds which could include a pavement ‘labrynth’ connecting the church to Blenkin Memorial Hall on Church Close.
*HRH The Princess Royal will visit at about 2.20pm this afternoon. For coverage see our website later today.