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Church won't build over 15 graves after public complaints
9:30am Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
A HISTORIC Oxford church will not be extended over 15 graves, after an outcry by residents.
Church leaders wanted to expand Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry, where Narnia author CS Lewis is buried, to create more storage and meeting space.
But residents and relatives of those buried in the graves which could have been affected opposed the plans.
The decision not to go ahead with the idea was made by the Parochial Church Council (PCC).
Vicar Tim Stead said the church could still be extended, but that any new plans would be smaller.
Mr Stead said: “We have altered our ideas significantly.
“There are a number of possibilities we are looking at including a smaller extension on the north site. But it will be nothing like the extension we were talking about earlier. This will be much more modest.”
Campaigner Jennifer Carpenter, 69, said the council had made the right decision. She is the great-niece of Frances and Josia Coppock, who are buried in the area which could have been affected.
She said: “We are absolutely delighted. It is exactly the result we wanted.
“They have listened to public opinion which was very strongly expressed.”
Now the PCC will instead look at other ideas, such as a smaller extension or a new-build outside the churchyard.
But broad approval was given to ideas for the improvement to the inside of the church, pending further design work.
The church is looking to expand to create storage, meeting and vestry space.
It also hopes to install disabled toilets and room for a permanent CS Lewis exhibition.
Any plans to improve the interior still have to be approved by the Diocesan church authorities before planning permission is given.