A £1 MILLION renovation of a historic Bridport church has taken a step forward with the appointment of an architectural firm.

The appointed firm for the Anglican parish of Bridport's project to renovate St Swithun's Church is St Ann's Gate Architects Ltd from Salisbury which holds particular expertise in church and architectural conservation work.

The ambitious plan is to renovate the historic Georgian church, located in West Allington, in time for its 200th birthday celebration in 2027.

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The aim is to make the church building more 'flexible and accessible' so that it can better serve the congregation, the whole parish of Bridport and the wider Bridport community.

The group is currently putting together a team of professionals to guide this million-pound project, which is still in its early days.

St Swithun's Church is an unusual Georgian church built in 1827 in Allington and is a Grade 2 listed building.

St. Anne’s Gate has been involved with a number of cathedral and church projects and, most recently, has been responsible for a major redevelopment at Gloucester Cathedral and redesigns at St Thomas’ Salisbury and St Paul’s Winchester.

Antony Feltham-King, the director of St Ann's Gate, said: “This is an iconic building and we are delighted to be able to work with the church team to create a building that will respect the past whilst helping to achieve the future that the church has in mind.”

The Steering Group's chairman and St Swithun's treasurer Philip Sturrock said: “We have big ambitions and we need to consult widely about the ways to realise them.

"We are very pleased to have appointed St Ann’s Gate and we are confident that Antony and his team will create a building that will fit the church and the community for the next 100 years."

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"Our aim is a church building that will both inspire and serve.

"We just know that, when it is finished, it will take your breath away.

“But, to achieve this we shall need to consult widely and raise the resources to finance our ambitions. It’s an exciting prospect."

Fundraising is not expected to begin until concrete plans have been written up, with the next plans being to consult with church users and the community, survey the structure and finalise ideas.