Congregation of St James the Less, Dorney, implore community to oppose parking restrictions proposed by transport for Buckinghamshire

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) for St James the Less, Dorney, is calling upon local and neighbouring residents to help support them in opposing proposed parking restrictions affecting the church. They fear new controls will severely hamper access to the building, decimating congregation numbers and its ability to hold weddings, funerals and baptisms, ultimately forcing the closure of the 800-year-old community hub.

St James the Less Church, Dorney
30/05/2021
Picture by Ed Nix

Speaking on behalf of the PCC, Paul Humpleman said,

“To continue the successful functioning of the church, it is vital that we continue to have unrestricted parking, with adequate space for churchgoers and visitors to continue to access the church for tending graves, memorials, funerals, weddings, baptisms and normal church services. If parking is restricted, it will have a catastrophic impact on our church, which will probably result in it closing. Dorney church is very much part of the local heritage as a functioning church; serving and supporting the local community and its interests must be protected.

The Revd La Stacey, vicar for St James the Less Dorney continued,

“The number of cars for which parking is needed at any one time can vary hugely, depending on whether the occasion is bell ringing practice or a wedding with over 100 guests arriving. There is no need for particular bays for ‘unloading’ outside the graveyard as put forward in council proposals– this is an unusable concept for a funeral, for example, or for a gravedigger. A funeral and burial can last anything from half an hour to two and a half hours. There are no set times when services can happen, or when visiting to the church or churchyard can happen, and to put these in would severely restrict the use of the church.

“Nor is there any way that we can know who is going to turn up, so any form of giving out permits for church users would also be unusable. There are no other sites in the village where parking can take place, so there is no possible system where church users (many of whom have limited mobility) can be dropped off and the driver of the car go and park elsewhere.

St James the Less Church, Dorney
30/05/2021
Picture by Ed Nix

“We want to be clear – we MUST have continued unrestricted access as has existed for over 800 years to thrive and indeed, survive.”

Throwing his support behind the campaign, the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, concluded by saying,

“Whilst we recognise the need for safe, efficient parking systems, the proposals put forward are a blunt instrument that will have permanent, catastrophic consequences for the church and its community; a community that has rallied together over this last tumultuous year and one that views St James the Less as a vital part of its identity.”

To support St James the Less in its opposition to the proposed restrictions, please visit www.dorneychurchparking.com – all objections must be registered by the 6th June.