The Bishop of Hereford has approved proposals for the closure of Hereford St Nicholas for regular public worship and recommended to the Church Commissioners that the church building and annexed land be sold to Encore Enterprises CIO (registered charity number 08129506) for community, cultural and/or educational purposes, and/or for occasional Christian worship, services, and other religious activities.

Following a slow decline in congregational numbers, a decision was made by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Nicholas to begin the closure process and explore how to release the church building for an alternative suitable use. 

This has come following careful consideration of a range of factors, including financial, building, pastoral and congregational realities.

Over many years, the dwindling congregation has continued to maintain a presence in the building, whilst also making every reasonable effort to establish the future sustainability of the church.

However, these efforts have not borne the hoped-for outcomes, particularly in terms of congregational growth.

Encore Enterprises is Herefordshire’s largest provider of adult community music, school music, musical activities for young people and music education training. 

They are a registered charity and were formed in July 2012 out of the former county music service.

Should the Scheme proceed it is intended that Encore Enterprises will take ownership of the church building and part of the churchyard and be responsible for its repair, ongoing maintenance, and authorised uses.

St Nicholas’ is a large, prominent Grade II listed building situated in the Hereford Central Conservation Area. Built c 1842 by Thomas Duckham of Hereford of ashlar stone and Welsh slate roofs it consists of nave, aisles and west tower and makes a positive contribution to the local area.

The interior is relatively plain, described by Pevsner as wide and barren. 

The walls are painted plaster with stone surrounding the windows. There are some memorials on the walls. The building is heavily pewed, although there is some open space at the west end to provide some flexibility in the building.

The current pews replaced earlier box pews and were installed during a major reordering of 1910.

Neither planning consent nor listed building consent are required for the proposed use. Community, cultural, educational, and occasional Christian worship uses fall within the current F1 Planning Use Class and no alterations requiring a listed building consent are proposed to the building.

Access to the church property is direct from the public highway.

The churchyard contains burials. The retained churchyard will continue to be maintained by the Local Authority and continued access for those wishing to visit and tend all graves, and the War Memorial will be legally provided for. None of the graves are listed or cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.