£70,000 extra bill for Clitheroe church spire repairs

SPIRE: Clitheroe Parish Church.'PHOTO: Ben Parsons'Clitheroe News Pics - 08/03/10
SPIRE: Clitheroe Parish Church.'PHOTO: Ben Parsons'Clitheroe News Pics - 08/03/10
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A BODY blow has been struck at Clitheroe Parish Church, with news that work to rebuild its landmark spire will cost just over £70,000 more than originally estimated.

“There are two ironies here.” explained Rev.Andy Froud, Priest-in-charge at the church. “The first is that stage one of the work, which we completed before Christmas, came in under budget. Unfortunately part of that work identified further problems which we will need to rectify in stage two, increasing the price for the next phase of work.

“The second irony is that many people have asked me over the past two years ‘how is your steeple?’ I have always told them the problem is with the spire – the pointy bit – and not the steeple – the tower and the pointy bit. It now turns out the problem is with both.”

An appeal to fund the work, originally estimated at around £250,000, was started in Autumn 2010. It later received a welcome £144,000 boost in funding from English Heritage Lottery grants, but those connected with the church have still had to work hard to make up the shortfall.

Work undertaken last September, as part of the first phase in partnership with English Heritage, has identified problems in the top of the tower which will have to be rectified as part of the complete rebuild of the spire to take place this year.

The Parochial Church Council, at its February meeting, unanimously agreed to extend its fund-raising, including a further sponsor a stone appeal to include the affected stones at the top of the tower, a collection at Booths and an appeal to the public for interest-free bridging loans to help cover the cost of recoverable VAT.

“I have been really encouraged by people’s generosity so far and by the knowledge that we now have a definite end in sight this year,” said Rev. Froud.

“I hope that the town will recognise that this is a once-in-a-generation challenge which together we can overcome.”