St Peter's Expands...
The Marks & Spencer Update

November 1998 bulletin

Work on the new extension to Marks & SparksWork beginning on the extension to the Marks & Spencer store in Nottingham. The photograph shows St Peter's Church Walk. The east wall of the chancel is to the right of the picture.

This time last year I wrote in the magazine that work had at last begun on the Marks and Spencer store development scheme which would produce for St Peter’s a new Centre. We can now see it taking final shape and hopefully soon after you have read this we shall be occupying it! The Centre is due to be handed over to us on November 2nd. At the moment this looks like an impossibility because there is still a great deal of work to be done. However Tarmac assure me that it will be very close to that date if not actually on it, though there may be some minor works still to be completed around the site. So in faith we plan to move the offices from 1-2, St Peter’s Church Walk into the new St Peter’s Centre on Tuesday 17th November. Come and visit us there - you will not have as many steps to climb!

The Coffee Room will continue in the St James’ Room until we re-open after Christmas. Then it will occupy the ground floor of the new Centre. The new steps are also taking shape at the moment behind the hoarding and should be completed at the same time, giving a fine new access to the church and bringing St Peter’s back into relationship with the Square below. The mediaeval South Door has been re-opened and an internal porch created to match the North Door porch. The new door will give easy access from the church to the Centre. All of this is very exciting for St Peter’s and opens a new door into the future for us. Bishop Patrick has agreed to come and open the new Centre on the evening of Tuesday 19th January. Please make a note of this date in your diary now so that we can all together celebrate and give thanks for all that we have gained, and for the opportunities that it gives us for extending our ministry as well as our facilities.

Leslie Morley

The following article was written by the rector back in October 1994.

A Visitors' Centre for St Peter’s?

Work on the new extension to Marks & SparksWork on the new extension seen from the Church roof, looking east.

At last I can write with further news of the development which Marks and Spencer are hoping to make to their Nottingham store. Since March of this year (1994) there has been nothing concrete to report as M&S worked out the details of what has proved to be a complex development project. However an agreed scheme, in which we have been fully consulted and the needs of the church generously responded to, has recently received the approval of their main board.

Originally M&S had sought to purchase part of the present churchyard. In return, as it were, we would acquire a purpose–built Visitor's Centre which would include a new Coffee Room, reception area, small meeting room and offices. However M&S now wish to extend their building over the piazza area only and not to encroach on the church land at all. The present churchyard boundary would remain where it is. This is a very welcome aspect of the new proposal. The piazza area is of course something of a wilderness and very vulnerable to vandalism. If it were developed it would improve the security of the church on the south side and allow for better management of the church garden itself, to the benefit of all.

A Visitors' Centre for the church would be built as part of the development at the South end of the present piazza above the current main entrance to the store. The proposals also include the placing of steps from St Peter’s Square to the West entrance to the church. This would greatly improve access to the church and the Visitors' Centre. The South door of the church, at present blocked up inside the church, would be reopened to give easy access from the church itself to the new Centre.

Marks and Spencer are preparing plans and drawings of the proposed scheme so that it can be presented to various bodies for approval. At its September meeting the PCC were shown draft outlines of the proposal, to which they gave their very positive support. As soon as completed drawings are available there will be a presentation to the whole congregation. It is hoped that, if the scheme gains the necessary approval, building might commence in the latter half of 1995 and be completed by the Autumn of 1996.

In the battle between city centre shopping and the out of town precincts the desire of M&S to develop their Nottingham store is an important victory for the city. It is also an important opportunity for St Peter’s to establish new facilities which could provide the basis for our ministry for the next twenty-five years and more. The plan is one to which I hope the whole congregation will be able to give their strong backing. If it is successful in gaining approval of the appropriate authorities we shall need to work together to make full use of this opportunity which I believe is God given. The improvement it would bring to our facilities must be capitalised on to draw more people from the city and further afield to St Peter’s and we must be ready to help them; to help them pastorally and spiritually with appropriate care and resources, to help them understand the building, its history, what it represents and the worship that continues to be at its heart day by day. We shall need to look at a new Coffee Room and how to develop it, at interpretive material for visitors, explaining ourselves and encouraging exploration, at our pastoral resources and how to provide better for those seeking help.

This is a big task. It involves all of us and challenges all of us. Do we have a big enough vision? Are we willing to be involved ourselves and respond to the opportunity God is offering us at St Peter’s? Are we prepared to offer time and energy, skills and support, to make the vision a reality? To my mind prayer has been part of this development all along, as it has faced obstacles and setbacks and yet moved forward. Please continue to pray for the plans and discussion still to come and for how we can help to create this new stage of St Peter’s long ministry to the city and all its people.

Leslie Morley
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 1st November 1998