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Bringing old church back to life in Felpham

A redundant church in Felpham has been brought back to life by a group of Christians.

The local members of the Brethren, sometimes called Plymouth Brethren, have begun to use the former St Peregrine's Catholic Church as their place of worship.

The church is believed to have been unused for about five years and fell into a dilapidated condition.

It survived an attempt at demolition in 2005 when Arun District Council turned down a planning application from the neighbouring car showroom to turn the site, just inside Middleton Road's junction with the A259, into a new car display area with customer parking.

Members of the Brethren's congregation are restoring the church which it is hoped will generally benefit the surrounding area.

They have applied to Arun for planning permission to create a surfaced off-street parking area on about 300sq m of rough grass and broken tarmac paths.

A statement with the application states: "The property (is) to maintain its character as a low-key unobtrusive church building, which will provide occasions for Christian prayer, Gospel preaching and Bible study.

"These occasions will be attended by, among others, children, elderly and disabled persons.

"It is the concern of the applicant that persons arriving by car should be provided with a safer alternative to off-loading passengers in the public highway, Middleton Road.

"The proposed car park would also reduce additional on-street parking at times when the church is in use.

"The appearance and character of the property to remain unchanged or as little changed as practically possible."

The Brethren is a conservative non-evangelical Christian movement which began in Britain and Ireland in the 1820s and 30s. St Peregrine's dated from 1934 when a former school building was opened as a chapel dedicated to the saint. The church was extended two years later.

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