St Leonards' Parish Church site. SUS-210610-105730001

Pictures of St Leonards church at risk of collapse - this is what is being done to try to save it

A campaign is being set up to try and save a church in St Leonards.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 10:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 11:20 am

St Leonard’s Church, in Marina, was forced to close in 2018 as the building was deemed to be unsafe due to surrounding earth movement.

A report by the Diocese of Chichester in 2016 recommended that St Leonard’s Church be declared redundant.

A meeting will be held on October 21 at the Masonic Hall to discuss how to preserve the building.

At the meeting will be representatives from the Diocese of Chichester, engineers and other experts.

Bryan Fisher, who is facilitating the event, said: “This unusual church was forced to close because of the surrounding earth movement upon the structure in 2018.

“It was largely designed by Adrian Gilbert Scott as a replacement for the second church on that site, which was destroyed by a V1 bomb in 1944. The church has an unusual feature in that its main entrance faces south, towards the sea; and, in addition, has further maritime links in that its pulpit is shaped as a boat’s prow and its lectern is a binnacle.

“Both the striking building, with its distinctive parabolic brick arches, and the Burton tomb above it are Grade II listed structures. However, both are under threat from the continued earth movement on the cliff, just as original church built by James Burton was.

“Already graves have moved and earth has even split over into the road. Left unchecked it is felt the existing retaining walls, already with severe cracks and movement, will eventually collapse upon the church.

“So, the aim of the meeting is to highlight the problems and determine if a solution can be found to protect the building. Then the next step would be, with the Diocese of Chichester’s consent, to create viable use of the church and its surrounds.”

Page 1 of 3