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27th Jun, 2022

Plans aim to transform Bidford's Catholic community

PLANS for a new Catholic church and community facilities are hoped to transform the parish of St Joseph the Worker in Bidford.

An application has been submitted to Stratford District Council following a lengthy consultation with villagers.

The diocese believes the current church, which used to be a workshop, has been outgrown by the Catholic community in the growing area in and around the village.

If plans are approved, the church will be accompanied by a new parish hall for community use. Two new houses will also be built, one of which will become the presbytery.

It is expected the development will cost around £1.5million, with funding coming partially from a legacy left by a parishioner.

APEC Architects has worked closely with the parish to develop the contemporary design including feature stained glass windows, visible from the adjoining bypass, to increase the church’s presence.

The use of natural external materials aims to reflect the humble nature of the church and an emphasis on wooden finishes means to remind St Joseph, the patron of the parish, was a carpenter.

Parish priest Canon Garry Byrne, along with the parish building committee, has worked tirelessly in recent years to develop a strong business plan for the development.

He said: “The submission of the planning application is a momentous occasion in the life of our parish.

“We are familiar with the phrase ‘location, location, location’. On this busy road four essential services are now situated – the fire station, the supermarket, the petrol station and St Joseph’s. Fire, Food, Fuel and Faith!

“St Joseph’s parish has been described as vibrant and viable. Our mission is ‘Go Make Disciples’ and we want to continue doing that.

“With a new purpose-built church and community facility we are embracing the future and commitment to evangelise.”

The application has been well received by the Diocesan Committee for Art and Architecture.

Planning spokesman Deacon Paul O’Connor said: “Bidford is a growing village and has the character of a small town. The new church will be an asset to the village in respect of a wonderful church for worship, but also provide important facilities for the wider community and add to the appearance of the village.

“The Archdiocese has a vision and this speaks to that – a building fit-for-purpose for the future, resources being used effectively, evangelising.

“The scheme has been a while in the making and lots of consultation has taken place with the local community already. If approved this development will make a statement for Bidford.”

Visit birminghamdiocese.org.uk for more information.

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