Church bids to beef up security to stop the vandals

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St Mary Magdalene Church
St Mary Magdalene Church in New Milton

A CHURCH is bidding to beef up security to protect its windows from what it says are ongoing attacks by vandals.

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St Mary Magdalene Church in New Milton has applied to New Forest District Council for permission for a set of CCTV cameras and a pair of steel grills to save it from the “constant cost of repair”.

Four cameras would be attached to the Grade II listed building, which was largely rebuilt in 1831. Metal grills would be fitted across the two windows which are either side of the main entrance, off Church Lane.

The planning application admitted there would be some harm to the looks of the listed building from the electrical equipment and black metal bars.

St Mary Magdalene Church wants permission for four CCTV cameras (Photo: stock image)

But it added: “The benefits of the cameras will clearly outweigh the harm by protecting the building so that people can view it without its current unsightly and depressing damage.”

And it said protecting the windows was necessary to avoid “the constant cost of repair and the despondency that smashed windows bring to the congregation and the passing public”.

As reported in the A&T, security concerns at the church were highlighted in June when a memorial thanksgiving service was interrupted by teenagers banging on the windows.

A stone was thrown into a car’s rear windscreen when the gang was challenged. The incident was later reported to the police.

The Rev. Andrew Bailey is the vicar of St Mary Magdalene, which has sister churches at St Peter’s, Ashley and St John’s, Bashley.

He told the A&T: “As far as the congregation is concerned, the deliberate damage to a much-loved church has been disappointing and regrettable.”

A decision on the CCTV cameras and window grills by NFDC is scheduled by 31st January next year after the deadline for public comments on 12th January.

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