Extra security measures plan to protect historic Isle church from yobs 'intent on malicious damage'

St Oswald's Church in Crowle.
St Oswald's Church in Crowle.

Plans have been revealed for extra security measures to protect a historic church from 'undesirables and delinquents intent on malicious damage'.

A planning application has been submitted to install four LED floodlights to the exterior of the Grade I listed St Oswald's Church in Crowle, which dates back to the 12th century.

The proposal has been put forward to deter yobs from breaking into or causing damage to the church. The historic site has been targeted in the past when vandals broke into the foyer, damaged electrics and smashed a flower display in 2009.

Donald Kitching, architect for the project, described the church as a "delicate and potentially vulnerable building, being left unattended for a great proportion of the time.

"The church is exposed to attention by undesirables and delinquents intent on malicious damage."

He added it is situated "in somewhat of an out-of-the way area of the town" which is "not regularly overlooked by members of the public."

"Events could be taking place without any attention from well wishers who may be prepared under other circumstance to alert the authorities.

"For this reason the churchwardens are accepting their responsibilities and are desirous of avoiding any problems that may lead to a calamitous situation."

But the lights would deter vandals and thieves by "highlighting their presence."

In addition to the security issue, plans show there is also a need to improve lighting to make it easier for people to see where they are going when attending the church in "dark winter months."

Mr Kitching said: "The design of these proposed alterations are proposed due to the inadequacy of the existing amenity lighting within the churchyard to assist persons to negotiate the long pathway from the churchyard entrance into the porch.

"This manifests itself particularly during the long dark winter months whereby the traverse along the pathway could be extremely dangerous. In particular when one considers the visitors and there aged infirmities which constitute the majority of the attendees."

He said the lights to the south and west walls of the church would cause "only a very small visual impact" to the historic building and added: "The proposed changes to this element of the church does not harm or create an adverse impact on the locality or structure of the building, the significant place or any of the heritage values attached to it."

There are no objections from the council's highways or environmental departments.

The proposal has been submitted to North Lincolnshire Council. There is no determination date yet but the scheme is expected to go before the authority's planning department within the next couple of months.