Why do we need to review the building and its use?
After the fire in 1975, St Leonard’s was sensitively and practically redeveloped as a beautiful, friendly space which has proved adaptable to many forms of liturgy, as an arts space, a place for celebration, a location for a number of large community meetings and a recognised point in Streatham well beyond the Christian community.
Looking ahead, we want to continue and expand all this activity. However, expectations around facilities in such buildings have changed in the thirty five years since St Leonard’s was reopened. In addition, St Leonard’s has become well identified with the Streatham Festival and through our own work as an excellent space for music, theatre and all forms of the arts. Yet the use of St Leonard’s is limited by its facilities. We need to improve access to the church and churchyard and make better use of the space we have.
Developing needs and potential solutions:
A group of parishioners representing different interests including parents, churchwardens, musicians, builders, new and long term members of our congregation came together at the request of our Rector, to look at the future of St Leonard’s as a building to meet the challenges of the future. The group identified as their aim:
We as the members of St Leonard’s aim to provide a focal point for 21st century Streatham which furthers God’s work in the community through the arts, worship and outreach.
The group then looked at what building design changes are needed to move us from where we are to a situation where we can achieve this aim. Having done initial work, the group ran a consultation day on 19 November 2011 around this aim and identified needs, followed by a display in church to garner views from anyone using St Leonard’s who wanted to take part.
A key message from the consultation was that people in the congregation and those who use the church do not want changes to the footprint of St Leonard’s. They value the unexpected beauty, light and calm of the interior of the church, while confirming that we need to rethink how we use the internal space to meet modern needs and expectations.
Full Statement of Need
A full initial statement of need from July 2012 can be viewed here (PDF).