ST MICHAEL'S Church in Ryde has been earmarked for closure by the local church council.

Blaming low numbers, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Michael and All Angels Church, Swanmore, has requested its closure.

A Diocese of Portsmouth spokesperson said: "The church currently hosts only one midweek service each week, which is attended by a small number of people, most of whom also attend Sunday services at All Saints, Ryde.

"The PCC has reluctantly decided to request its closure for Church of England worship."

A consultation will be carried out, giving parishioners and community groups that use the church hall a chance to have their say, before a final decision is made.

The spokesperson said: "When a PCC requests a church closes for public worship, the diocese starts a legal process of informal and formal consultation, surveys of the buildings and local discussions about the future of the church, before making a final decision on whether it should close or not."

The first consultation event will be a public meeting at the church, at 6pm next Wednesday (July 18).

"The vicar, Canon Graham Morris, and our acting diocesan secretary, Jenny Hollingsworth, will be at the meeting and will be pleased to meet anyone with an interest in the church," said the spokesperson.