A vicarage for the 21st century

The vicarage at Leiston

Vicarages normally conjure up images of charming old stone brick houses with quaint gables and perhaps a swing gate, but there's nothing old about the brand new vicarage at Leiston.

The thoroughly modern and environmentally vicarage has been built for the newly appointed priest in the Suffolk town, the Reverend Martin Phillips-Last and his family.

The vicarage has been constructed at a cost of £210,000 from the proceeds of the sale of the former vicarage in King Edward Avenue.

It will be home to Mr Phillips-Last, the new Church of England priest in the town, and his family, and features a large study and reception area for church and ministry work.

The vicarage is an extension of the Harvest Lodge bungalow that already existed on the site.  Work got underway last July and has just been completed this month.

The changes included adding a second floor, and builders ensured it met high environmental standards to reduce the running and maintenance costs.

Mr Phillips-Last studied theology at St John's College in Nottingham and has served as a curate at St Michael's and St Luke's churches in Beccles for the last three years before moving to Leiston.

The Rt Rev Dr David Thomson, the Acting Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: "This new vicarage is very good news for Leiston and for the priest and his family who will live there. We want to keep clergy living in as many local communities as we can; and we want to do our bit for the environment too, as this new house does.

"Our ethos as the Church of England is to be there, to show we care, and to have good news to share - and I'm thrilled that the new priest and new house will help this happen."

The Venerable Ian Morgan, Archdeacon of Suffolk, said: "The new vicarage and the appointment of Martin as the parish priest signals a new start in Leiston.

"This is an excellent, purpose built house that gives Martin a good base to work from, and a comfortable home for his wife Kathryn, and their young family."

Canon Nicholas Edgell, Chief Executive and Diocesan Secretary for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: "The exciting new innovative design for the vicarage provides a base suitable for 21st century ministry.

"We are committed to providing good quality housing for clergy as a base for their ministry, and this demonstrates our commitment to serving Leiston."

Canon Michael Wilde, Chairman of the Diocesan Property Committee, said: "When we first saw the plans, we were immediately excited at the prospect of such an innovative design for the vicarage at Leiston and gave it our full support.

"The diocese is committed to providing environmentally friendly houses which have low running costs.

"This excellent design by John Patterson and is another sign of our commitment to providing the clergy with good quality properties, which are environmentally friendly and serve as a family home and base for ministry."