DOZENS of people attended an open day to cast their eyes over the newly built vicarage in Christchurch.

The Rev Chris Mann opened up his new workplace and four bedroom home on Church Street to the public so they could deliver their verdict on the new building.

Mr Mann, who will be moving from his current home in Southbourne in April, said it is ideally located and was pleased so many people turned up to take a look.

“It is a building that will still be here in hundreds of years so it was important it was done properly,” he added.

“It will become part of the fabric of the community.”

The house replaces the Grade II listed vicarage on Quay Road formerly occupied by the Rev Canon Hugh Williams.

The nine bedroom house had been deemed ‘unsuitable for occupation’ and work on its replacement started in May last year.

However, the new building had attracted some opposition at the planning stage and Christchurch Conservation Trust launched an attempt to revoke planning permission.

Their objection was that planning permission had been granted by council officers under delegated powers rather than by a committee.

People at the open day however praised the architecture of the building and said it was a welcome new addition to the town centre.

Colin Bacchus, a resident in Christchurch for 24 years, said it fitted in with the existing character of its surroundings.

He added: “It has been very tastefully done and it mirrors the style of the organist’s house on the opposite side of the road.”

Allan Lilley, who has been attending church in Christchurch for 15 years, said: “The old vicarage was becoming unmanageable and costs were escalating.”