Project Progress

The Regeneration Project

St Peter’s is not only a prominent landmark, it is also Sudbury’s main venue for large events, but this beautiful and unique building is in need of urgent repairs and brand new facilities in order to make it sustainable for the future.

2021 is the year that everyone’s hard work comes together to begin to create a vibrant cultural venue for the community and visitors to Sudbury.  The Churches Conservation Trust are now working on the construction phase of this exciting project and St Peter’s is now closed to the public until 2023.

To keep up to date on how the project progresses please sign up  for our new newsletter by emailing our local Development Officer below.  This is the best way to keep up to date with what’s happening, how to be involved and learn all about our events and activities for the public during the closure period and in the future.

Your details will be used by the Churches Conservation Trust to share news with you about St Peter’s and other CCT news that may be of interest.  Our Privacy Policy can be seen here.

Sign up for our newsletters by emailing our local Development Officer, Alli Burke, on  aburke@thecct.org.uk

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Tell me a bit about St Peter's background

The magnificent Grade I Listed Church of St Peter stands prominently at the top of Market Hill, at the heart of the busy market town of Sudbury. St Peter’s has a wealth of heritage and dates back to the 14th century.

Today, St Peter’s stands at the centre of communal life in Sudbury. It has a high communal value as a public building. In 1976 the building was declared redundant and vested into the care of the national charity protecting churches at risk, the Churches Conservation Trust.

The Friends of St Peter’s, a local registered charity run entirely by volunteers, who have over the years undertaken major projects to restore the bells and organ, have supported the CCT on a day to day basis as local guardians and fundraisers to help enable the church to be used by the community.

What are the proposed changes to St Peter’s?

The regeneration of St Peter’s is an ambitious project that will repair and rejuvenate the building as a cultural and community centre for the town. The project will deliver a range of physical improvements and repairs, and will also offer a wider programme of heritage and cultural activities, and will create staff posts to professionally manage the operation of the building.

Our project architects have completed detailed plans for the proposed works, and have gained planning and listed building consents after undertaking public consultations and design developments. The proposed plans include much-needed repairs to the roof, the development of a new kitchen area, improved storage, a new heritage interpretation offer, a mezzanine floor, and new toilet facilities.

Where is the project currently at?

In order to undertake vital repairs, install new build elements and find a sustainable future for the building, The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) has been working and consulting with the local community and organisations including The Friends of St Peter’s Sudbury since 2012 to bring together an ambitious project plan.

Following a local and national fundraising campaign in 2019/20, the CCT successfully won an award of £1.67M from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to turn the plan into reality.  Without this, and crucial investment from other funders, the future of this important community asset would have been at risk.

The project team are currently working on the first phase of enabling works as contractors came on site in September.

What does the project aim to achieve?

The project aims to:

  • Ensure St Peter’s place at the heart of the community by providing a facility and programme that is used and valued by all;
  • Create a heritage experience that interprets the stories of Sudbury that will appeal to a local, national and international audience;
  • Improve the facilities and offer, attracting new – and currently untapped ‐ groups to the venue, including commercial businesses, families and young people;
  • Engender community cohesion through providing opportunities for local people to meet, exchange ideas and share memories;
  • Improve the sustainability of the site by attracting commercial and private individuals to hire the space for meetings, receptions and celebratory events;
  • Create new spaces for interpretation and activity, telling stories that are currently untold or inaccessible;
  • Repair the fabric of the building which is currently at risk, and at risk of hindering activity that takes place in the space;
  • Create new staff and volunteer posts, and provide opportunities for younger people to develop skills and experiences to serve them in the future;
  • Develop stronger working relationships between community  stakeholders and the CCT.

What will the space be when it reopens?

St Peter’s will become a vibrant space that welcomes a wider, more diverse audience than it historically has.

The project will provide Sudbury with a dynamic space that can be used for all kinds of exciting events and activities, while at the same time reconnecting the town with its history, through new and interesting ways of sharing heritage.

What will the community be able to do there?

The community and visitors will be able to:

  • Enjoy a range of activities to learn about the stories of Sudbury:
    • Experience hands on, interactive storytelling interpretation
    • Experience pop up exhibitions
    • Tell their own stories through community projects
  • Adults, families and children can take part in St Peter’s learning programme:
    • Schools learning activities that link St Peter’s with curriculum subjects.
    • Take part in family activity days and events
  • A place for the local community to drop in and enjoy:
    • The space can be accessed by community members and visitors to the area who are welcome to enjoy the building as a social space.
    • Meet up with friends and neighbours at a new in-house community enterprise café
    • Take part in a series of café based activities and events
  • A place to attend and enjoy for a range of public performances and events:
    • Gigs and concerts from a mixture of local, national and international artists
    • Community Art Events and Activities
    • Talks
    • Plays, spoken word, dance
    • Community music workshops
  • Spaces to hire for group or individual use:
    • The whole building for a celebratory event, concert, conference, training day or markets
    • The new Mezzanine area or Lady Chapel for a business or community meeting, special occasion, or private function
  • For all to take part in annual events, which are part of the local and regional cultural offer:
    • Silk and other festivals
    • Suffolk Day
    • Heritage open days
  • A chance to volunteer, learning new skills and connecting with others:
    • Volunteer Training Programme – we aim to provide all volunteers with the opportunity of developing their skills and learning
    • An opportunity for young people to get involved with St Peter’s and to be represented on our new Local Advisory Group
    • Volunteers will be able to connect with other volunteers at St Peter’s and other CCT sites and to achieve recognition through the CCT’s Annual National Volunteering Awards

How will the project be managed during the closure period?

The project will be managed by the CCT Project team consisting of:

Development Officer – Alli Burke

Contracts Project Manager – Jake Miller

Project Director – Amanda Gerry 

The Project Team will be supported by:

CCT Regional Team – South East (Conservation Manager, Lead Local Community Officer, Head of Region)

Communications Team

Head of Enterprise

Design Team consisting of a number of professionals including Architect, QS, M&E specialists, Archeology specialists, Ecology specialists

In addition to the project management team, a voluntary advisory group has been set up by the CCT to bring fresh perspectives and act as a ‘critical friend’ to the project. The group will comprise of representatives with relevant experience and skills from a range of local and regional organisations, to provide support and advice to the project team in specific areas during the delivery of the project, and to act as advocates for the project to raise the profile of St Peter’s as a multi-purpose venue for the town and region.

How will St Peter's be managed once reopened?

Through the development of this project it has been acknowledged that St Peter’s will be a busier and more demanding venue to operate as an enhanced community enterprise. Business growth and financial accounting, partnership building and relationship management, enhanced heritage and community activity, increased operational hours, and the management of newly built facilities, will require substantial management time. As the building owner and NLHF contracting body, the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) will be accountable for the project and site, and will employ the following staff who will be responsible for managing St Peter’s once it is re-open.

  • Three new posts employed by the CCT : 1 Centre Manager, supported by 1 Learning and Participation Officer, and 1 Facilities Assistant, all supported by the CCT South East regional team and central staff.
  • Some events and activities will be supported by sessional staff
  • A dedicated team of highly valued volunteers to help with day to day running and activity, alongside ‘micro-volunteer projects’ that are time limited and concentrate on specific tasks such as research, fundraising, marketing etc.

St Peter’s will be run as a community enterprise, and will continue to be supported by the Local Advisory Group.

Who is the CCT and why are they responsible for St Peter’s?

The Churches Conservation Trust is the national charity saving historic churches at risk

Award-winning heritage conservation and regeneration.

We have saved over 350 buildings which attract almost 2 million visitors a year. Our unique collection of English churches includes irreplaceable examples of architecture, archaeology and art from 1,000 years of history. With our help and with your support they are kept open and in use – living once again at the heart of their communities.

We operate the third largest heritage estate in charitable ownership in the UK. All of the churches in our collection are listed, mostly Grade I and II*, and some are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

Grade I listed St Peter’s came into our care in 1976, when the local parish could no longer continue to use it as a place of worship, or afford to maintain it, and so it was vested into the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Since then the CCT has spent over quarter of a million pounds on vital repairs, but the building now requires a much larger investment to make it safe and sustainable for the future.

How do the plans for the building involve local people?

Over the past 3 years we’ve undertaken multiple consultations to listen to people’s views and learn about their experiences. The project encapsulates these views and is conscious that St Peter’s has always done well to function as a flexible space, enabling different groups and hirers to make the most of the building.    Given that the project has been guided by the existing communities, groups and hirers who currently use St Peter’s, as well as by potential new audiences and groups, we hope that more people will become involved with St Peter’s in the future.   St Peter’s will reconnect as a central part of Sudbury life and it will be a key project in the town’s culture-led regeneration. Something we hope that people can be really proud of.

As an important part of Sudbury’s culture-led regeneration project, the CCT sit on the Sudbury Vision Delivery Group, working cohesively with the councils and other organisations to help shape Sudbury’s wider regeneration and development, and ensure that St Peter’s is considered in any strategic future planning.

Sudbury Vision recognises a future Sudbury that is a special place with an exciting future, a strategically well-placed town for sustainable growth, a town hosting a diverse economy and a strong community spirit.  Sudbury Vision’s ambitions include developing Sudbury’s brand and profile, developing Sudbury as a place to invest, enhancing the town as a great place to live, work and visit, creating a connected and sustainable town centre, building on the town’s cultural heritage and visitor attractions.”

How can local people continue to be involved in the project during the closure period?

During the closure period we want to ensure that we let the community know exactly what’s happening at different stages.  There are various ways we will do this:

Public Heritage Skills Programme – a variety of hands on workshops and hard hat tours to see the work close up are planned for the whole of the closure period.  Dates and times will be advertised locally, online and via our newsletter once scheduled.

Interpretation – Helping us to build on our initial research to bring the stories of St Peter’s and Sudbury to life in the building.  We need help with making things!  From tiny fabric church mice, to larger scale hanging textile banners, and lots more!

Volunteering Opportunities – join us as a Heritage Detective to uncover hidden history and stories.  We know there are lots of stories we haven’t heard before, (like the time we were told about in the 1960’s, when St Peter’s was covered in scaffolding, and a group of teens climbed and ran back and forth on the roof as the police chased round and round the perimeter of St Peter’s like the Keystone Cops, not quite sure how to get them down)! Also, documenting this important phase in the life of St Peter’s is really important, so perhaps you could share your passion as a photographer to help us record the changes in St Peter’s during the closure period?

Once we are open there will be many more opportunities to get involved as a hands on volunteer, or micro volunteer on smaller projects.

St Peter’s has a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and website where all projects updates are published, and a quarterly mailchimp newsletter to subscribers is already going out.  Just by subscribing, following us and sharing our posts on social media you can support what we are doing.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/stpetersudbury

Twitter – https://twitter.com/StPeterSudbury

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/stpetersudbury/

Will the changes affect current volunteers?

Current volunteers at St Peter’s are greatly valued and will be able to continue volunteering following the completion of the proposed works. With the new staff in place, there will be opportunities for volunteers to be inducted under CCT policy and have access to free training. Volunteers will also have the chance to try something new with a wide range of volunteering roles that will be available. Whether you would like to help with live music events, community activities, or are interested in the building’s heritage and history, there will still always be plenty of opportunities for everyone to be involved with St Peter’s.

Will I still be able to hire St Peter's in the future?

Yes! Events and hires can recommence when St Peter’s reopens.

Anyone interested in hiring St Peter’s post-completion in 2023 will be able to contact the Centre Manager once they are in post, and full details on how to do this will be provided via our website and newsletter nearer that time.

Should current or potential hirers have any questions in the meantime please contact Alli Burke, our local Development Officer, in the first instance.

email aburke@thecct.org.uk

Will St Peter’s look ugly during the work – will the work be noisy and disruptive?

Hoardings have been erected to ensure that the site is safe and secure, but discussions are already underway about how these can be made to look attractive, with community input.

There will eventually be extensive scaffolding covering the roof of the east end of the building in order for our contractors to undertake essential structural repairs to the roof.

Contractors will negotiate with the Local Authorities on the issue of noise and dust levels but we are not anticipating that this will be disruptive.

 

When will the work at St Peter’s start?

After an extensive pre-construction phase, St Peter’s has now closed and the first phase enabling works are underway.   During the construction phase St Peter’s will be completely closed to the public while contractors are on site, although there will be opportunities for members of the local community to take part in organised hard hat tours and heritage craft skills sessions on scheduled days.

 

When will St Peter’s Reopen?

Once the construction phase is complete, there will be a further period of preparation time to ensure St Peter’s is operationally fit to reopen.  Due to the inherent nature of a project of this scale all dates are subject to change but it is anticipated that St Peter’s will reopen in 2023.

CHURCHES CONSERVATION TRUST PROJECT TEAM

Jake Millar, Contracts Project Manager

Jake is the lead on managing all project contracts, and acts as key liaison point between the Churches Conservation Trust, and the project’s professional team.  His responsibilities include monitoring and control of contracts, ensuring Health & Safety and other statutory issues, to ensure quality compliance is maintained and that the CCT’s procedures and objectives are achieved.  Jake is also responsible for reporting our progress to our funders.

e: jmillar@thecct.org.uk t: 07786 415375

Alli Burke, Development Officer

Based locally, Alli has been involved in the project for a number of years and she will be leading on Interpretation & Activities, including our Heritage Skills programme, Business Planning, Marketing and, crucially, continuing to build partnerships and community engagement. Alli has formed a new Local Advisory Group for the project and is looking forward to the LAG bringing fresh perspectives, valuable skills and experience to the project

e: aburke@thecct.org.uk t: 07799 424078

Amanda Gerry, Project Director

Amanda is currently CPM at Holy Trinity, Sunderland, navigating her way through Covid-19, BREXIT and a runaway lorry with failed handbrakes! This £4.3million project will reopen later this year as a new cultural and learning space where the stories of Old Sunderland will come alive with sympathetic conservation works, beautiful interpretation and an immersive activity programme. Amanda brings a wealth of experience to support the Sudbury project team and we are looking forward to welcoming her to Sudbury again very soon.

SUPPORTERS


The Churches Conservation Trust are grateful for the support of the community, private donors and the following organisations

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership

Babergh District Council

The Friends of St Peter’s

Mackman Group

 Sudbury Town Council

…..and many others

Experience More of Sudbury

See/Do

There is plenty to see and do in Sudbury, pre or post-event. Here you can find everything you need to experience more of Sudbury.

Shop

Ready to uncover a hidden gem? Find out more about the independent shops and stalls in our beautiful market town.

Eat/Drink

Whether you need a pre-show meal, a quick coffee to-go or a tipple post-event, discover the best places to eat and drink in Sudbury.

Stay Connected with St Peter’s

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