PLANS to bring a redundant church near Presteigne back to the heart of a community have been given the green light by Powys planners.

Last year Norton Community Trust submitted both change of use and listed building consent planning applications to turn, Grade II listed St Andrew’s Church in Norton, into a “community hub.”

In 2020, following many years of declining attendance and an ongoing lack of funds for maintenance, Church in Wales, in consultation with the local community, declared St Andrew’s church redundant.


Norton Community Trust was created to preserve the building and to adapt it for community use.

The main changes will see pews removed from nave and transepts, the heating system upgraded, the font moved, and an accessible toilet and kitchen facilities created below the belfry.

A lease with the Church in Wales to take control of the building had been provisionally approved.

Presteigne county councillor Beverley Baynham had called in the application to be decided by councillors due to the “sensitive nature of the building” and community interest, but withdrew this request last October, allowing the application to be decided by planning officers.

Case officer Gwyn Humphreys said:  “Upon initial consultation, the built heritage officer raised several areas of concern with the proposed development, and in light of the comments provided, the agent, during the course of the application, has submitted amended and additional plans for consideration.

County Times: The fontThe font

“It is noted the amended and additional plans now form the basis of the application.”

He added that the “comprehensive” comments by the built heritage officer form the “main basis” of assessing the implications of the proposal.

Mr Humphreys added that there had been concern on the “economics” of the proposal and he addressed this in his report.

He said: “Given that the church has been declared as redundant and is not currently in use, the local planning authority consider it appropriate for other potential uses of the building to be considered in an attempt to secure the future of the building.

“It is noted that no similar facility to that proposed as part of the application currently exists in Norton.

County Times: Pews will be removed as part of the renovationPews will be removed as part of the renovation

“It is therefore considered that the principle of a public hall within Norton is accepted.”

He gave the plans conditional consent.

When the project is completed it is expected that regular events using the former church will include coffee mornings, exercise classes, a book exchange, mother & baby classes, and clubs such as gardening, history and film.

The venue would also be available for hire for events such as music concerts, arts, and heritage exhibitions.

The building is listed because it is a “virtually complete example” of the rural work of Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The original medieval church was restored by Scott in 1868.