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St. Mary’s Church, the medieval church that was slated for restoration until Brexit politics nixed the project, despite huge public protests.            Source: Josh Tilley / CC BY-SA 4.0

Medieval Church Restoration Project Sidelined By Truck Park Takeover

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A historic English medieval church site has been overtaken by a Brexit overflow lorry park and plans to restore the Grade-1 sacred site have been scrapped, in a controversial government move. Sevington is a contiguous suburb of Ashford in Kent County, England, and while it was originally a very small rural village it developed into a prominent center of medieval business and trade affairs. St Mary’s Church was built in the 13th century AD in a remote woodland area. The medieval church has been attracting parishioners from all directions every Sunday for nearly 700 years. But now, the sacred medieval church site is being surrounded by a 27-acre (11-hectare) park for 2,000 trucks in preparation for Britain’s end of the year exit from the EU.

The enormous lorry park under construction as of this writing, with St. Mary’s Church in the lower right green zone. (Change.org)

The enormous lorry park under construction as of this writing, with St. Mary’s Church in the lower right green zone. ( Change.org)

Medieval Church Project Cancelled By Brexit “Thinking”

It is expected that up to 2,000 lorries could experience border delays in the event of Brexit at the end of the year, and the once peaceful medieval church will now be only a hedge away from the industrial racket. The new customs clearance depot at Sevington is but one of 10 sites around the country identified for similar infrastructure projects. An article in The Metro says “the Government gave itself” the power to buy land and build on it “without consulting local authorities or residents first.”

This story begins during the summer of 2020 AD when the British government confirmed it will impose an “internal border” at the beginning of 2021 around Kent to prevent lorries without a permit entering the county. The government says these sites have been earmarked for development due to fears of huge delays at the border potentially clogging up roads and motorways in Kent.

Despite massive protests, this is what people will see just over the hedge surrounding the medieval church in Sevington, Kent. And the proposed lorry park will cover an astonishing 27-acres (11 hectares) to accommodate 2,000 lorries arriving via the Channel Tunnel. (Kalyakan / Adobe Stock)

Despite massive protests, this is what people will see just over the hedge surrounding the medieval church in Sevington, Kent. And the proposed lorry park will cover an astonishing 27-acres (11 hectares) to accommodate 2,000 lorries arriving via the Channel Tunnel. ( Kalyakan / Adobe Stock)

Church Authorities Getting Involved

The landscape surrounding the medieval church is being converted into an industrial customs complex, but that’s not all. According to the Church Times , St Mary’s Church was due to receive “£450,000 for a restoration project to make a new community hub.” The land surrounding the church was owned by insurance giant AXA who had pledged the almost half million pounds (672,000 dollars) in their plans to develop a warehouse complex on the site. However, the land was sold to the government earlier this year, without any consultation with church authorities .

Not only will the church restoration project no longer go ahead as planned, but the church will now be consumed by a new construction project that has no intention of providing church restoration funds. The Church Times spoke with a representative from the Canterbury diocese who said the government has “taken on all of the obligations that apply to this ownership when it was transferred from AXA.”

However, the problem is that “no detailed discussions had taken place,” said the Canterbury diocese spokesperson, and she added that neither has anything been said regarding the long-planned medieval church renovation project.

The protest against the government and “Farage's Garage” is hoping the restoration project on the medieval church will be revived despite the huge custom’s lorry park on its doorstep. (ink drop / Adobe Stock)

The protest against the government and “Farage's Garage” is hoping the restoration project on the medieval church will be revived despite the huge custom’s lorry park on its doorstep. ( ink drop / Adobe Stock)

This Is What All The Fuss Is About

The 700-year-old medieval church was going to get new floors and traditional tiling as per the originally planned restoration project. In addition, a new kitchen with improved lighting and heating was to furbish the inner church, and the roof, timbers, and stonework were all lined up to be repaired. Moreover, this important historical renovation plan also included a new car park to service the “community hub.”

According to the Daily Mail “Four million trucks travel through the Channel Tunnel and ferry port a year,” filled with food and other essential items. And the village of Sevington, whose population attend St Mary’s Church, live only 15 miles (24 km) from the Channel Tunnel, and only 20 miles (32 km) from the country’s biggest ferry port in Dover.

But in this instance it is not only prime minister Boris Johnston that´s getting criticized. An earlier Daily Mail article stated that “30,000 people have signed a petition to name the site at Sevington either 'Farage's Garage' and 'Nigel's folly’.” This tongue-in-cheek named petition reads: “The undersigned request that the new Brexit lorry park in Kent be named after Nigel Farage, without his years of selfish grift, dissembling and misapplied zeal on the behalf of the more gullible voters of Kent this project just would not be happening.” Hopefully, the British government will yield to the public in this instance so the church can still be “saved.”

Top image: St. Mary’s Church, the medieval church that was slated for restoration until Brexit politics nixed the project, despite huge public protests.            Source: Josh Tilley / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Ashley Cowie

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It really is time for the low attendance churches to go. 

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