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Archaeology probe ordered at St Lawrence's Church in Hungerford

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PLANNERS have ordered an archaeological investigation in the grounds at St Lawrence's Church in Hungerford.

The work will investigate "evidence of earlier occupation in the medieval settlement, and potentially remains of earlier churches on the site".

It was ordered as a condition of approval for a major improvement project.

St Lawrence's (56169032)
St Lawrence's (56169032)

The proposal, announced by the Parochial Church Council (PCC), involves upgrading the fuel supply to the building, and improve its connectivity with the introduction of a landline and broadband; making ventilation improvements, and improving the accessibility to the building.

Hungerford Town Council's environmental and planning committee objected to the planning application, citing, in part, the "lack of an archaeological survey".

West Berkshire Council planners agreed.

A planning officer's report stated: "The proposal is of archaeological interest, given the potential within the churchyard to uncover human remains, as well as evidence of earlier occupation in the medieval settlement, and potentially remains of earlier churches on the site."

The planning permission was granted with the proviso that "no development shall take place within the application area until the applicant has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work in accordance with a written scheme of investigation...approved in writing".

The report concluded: "With measures in place to protect the ecology and trees within the site, the proposed alterations to the visual appearance of the building and its setting are considered to be minimal, and will result in improvements to the usability of the church within the community.

"The proposal is not considered to be harmful to the setting and appearance of the Grade II listed building."

* ALISON Saunders, the wife of the incumbent at St Lawrence's Church, the Rev Mike Saunders, has been appointed Senior Waterways Chaplain of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

Waterways chaplains work across the nation’s inland waterways to support boaters in need, helping to resolve a wide range of issues from access to benefits and healthcare to being a listening ear and companion to the lonely and anxious.

Chaplains are committed to walking one mile of their towpath each week, but most walk much more than that.

They are happy to chat to anyone they meet, whether it be boaters, fishermen, cyclists or other walkers, and to help in any and every way they can, if asked.

There are about 10 chaplains along the length of the Kennet and Avon.

Mrs Saunders said: "I'd love to see more Waterways Chaplains along the canal, to support boaters and all who use the waterway in any capacity, raising awareness of its potential and the challenges for those who live on it."

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