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Tipton church to close after 181 years

By Alex Ross | Tipton | News | Published:

A Grade II-listed church in Tipton is set to close in a move which could see the building eventually sold off.

St Martin and St Paul Church in Owen Street, Tipton

St Martin and St Paul Church was built in 1837 and is an example of an early Gothic Revival style.

But under plans by Lichfield Diocese, the congregation would be moved to St Matthews Church, also in Tipton.

If the proposed to close the church is approved, the diocese could then apply to sell the site off.

Ward councillor Ian Jones said: "It is a very sad day the church has to close, but unfortunately the number of people using it has been identified as not sufficient.

"I can understand why they [the church] are rationalising.

"It is a difficult one when you do not have the people or money to continue to look after such a building.

"I hope that St Matthews can accommodate the numbers which move across."

He added: "If it is then sold off, I hope the building has a use which is sympathetic to its current state.

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"Given the footfall I'm not sure how it could be used next, maybe a community group could take it on."

The closure was first mooted in 2015 following the retirement of the incumbent.

Fears were then raised that the parish did not have the resources for necessary repairs of the red-brick building.

A public meeting was held in April of the same year on the proposal to close the church.

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Then, a month later the idea was proposed to combined the parishes of St Martin and St Paul with St Matthews.

Last year, an interim minister was appointed to assist St Martin and St Paul through its potential closure.

A consultation on the closure ends on September 24.

The application to close the church for worship reads: "The scheme, if implemented, would have the effect of closing the church of St Martin and St Paul for public worship and vesting it in the Lichfield Diocesan Board of Finance for care and maintenance pending a decision on its future."

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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