A village church devastated by fire five years ago is to be renovated despite objections that the work will lead to the "desecration" of graves. 

The Church of St Mary in Wimbotsham was badly damaged by the blaze that ripped through it in 2019, putting it out of use by parishioners.

The revamp hopes to restore the 900-year-old listed building while making improvements for it to be used as a community hub, with plans including an extension and a larger car park.

Eastern Daily Press: The side of a the fire-ravaged church at Wimbotsham, where a single storey extension is proposedThe side of a the fire-ravaged church at Wimbotsham, where a single storey extension is proposed (Image: Chris Bishop)

However, the proposals were met with objections and it was even recommended for dismissal by council officers.

Speaking at a West Norfolk Council planning committee, Karen Wanless, a local, said she was upset that the extensions required the desecration of several graves, with headstones needing to be removed.

She said this was "unnecessary" and called for the extension to be scaled back to avoid this, pointing to the fact the church was only used once a week before the fire.

Norfolk County Council's highways officer, Richard Smith, also objected, fearing the increased use of the building could cause issues for drivers and he instead called for the additional parking spaces to be removed from the plans.

READ MORE: Village church devastated by fire 

Eastern Daily Press: What the revamp and extension could look likeWhat the revamp and extension could look like (Image: West Norfolk Council)

This is due to concerns people entering and exiting the narrow lane to the church could be at risk of collision due to poor visibility at the junction from the main road.

Eastern Daily Press: The awkward junction in WimbotshamThe awkward junction in Wimbotsham (Image: Google)

However, councillors were overwhelmingly supportive of the application.

Councillor Brian Long highlighted how people would travel slowly along the road due to it being narrow.

While Vivienne Spikings said there was "nothing wrong whatsoever" and that she "does not see what the issue is".

Councillor Pallavi Devulapalli added: "It is important churches remain living, breathing spaces. Lots of people will travel by car so it is important we allow this access

Following the debate, councillors voted to approve the renovation work, which is being carried out by the Wimbotsham Parochial Church Council.