Residents of a rural Herefordshire parish have been told they can keep their new church toilet... for now.

St Matthew’s church, Marstow, near Ross-on-Wye, has raised £179,000 in recent years for urgent repairs to the church, and also to install an outside loo as part of widening the church’s use as a social hub.

But Herefordshire Council planners said the wooden-sided closet “harmed the setting” of the grade II-listed Victorian building, and an older cross, also listed, in the churchyard.

They told church representatives that it would have to be moved to a less obtrusive spot 10 yards away, at an expected cost of £6,000, or face an enforcement notice.

Now the council has granted planning permission for the loo – but only for three years.


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It’s decision notice requires that “on or before 8 July 2025, [the WC] shall be removed, and the land restored to its former condition”.

Chair of the Marstow parochial church council Sue Rolfe said: “We have decided to accept this offer to give ourselves a breather.

“However we plan continue our campaign and appeal at the end of the three-year temporary planning extension.”