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Call for support as controversial Stone church projects gets the nod

PUBLISHED: 10:23 11 August 2011

Rev Ken

Rev Ken

Archant

»A vicar at a church were a controversial project to demolish a 160-year-old hall has been granted is appealing for residents to support the plan.

St Mary’s Church, Stone, was granted permission to build parish rooms by Dartford Borough Council last week, and outline consent to demolish the hall and replace it with flats.

It was agreed despite opposition from nearby residents and the parish council.

The Rev Kenneth Clark said: “In essence the church is the same as in the 13th century, no toilets, no kitchen, no decent heating, not even running water. The church hall is hopelessly inadequate.”

The building of flats, to raise money for the new hall has raised concerns from residents in Bell Close, but Mr Clark said care would be taken to reduce impact.

A condition of the permission is work must begin in the next three years so the church has a race to raise £750,000 before that time.

He said: “It is a large patch so we will build away from the houses. Any displaced groups using the hall will either be able to use the church or have to be relocated during the period.

“Things have been difficult, but we hope people will come to realise this is a positive thing for the community and give us their support.”

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