You will be aware that work has, at last, started on the church. This follows a year long Development phase during which the architect & engineer prepared drawings & specifications which were then put out to tender. We received the go ahead from HLF in September & we have now appointed Eastern Foundry Lead Ltd to undertake the works, which are expected to take 6 months.
The first phase is to construct a scaffolding platform to allow safe access at eaves level & to build a temporary roof to allow work to progress through the winter & provide protection to the interior of the church. There is already a scaffold platform across the nave, which is also temporarily propping the roof during the works.
Now this is completed the contractor will strip back the roof coverings at eaves level so that a thorough survey can be made of the condition of the roof rafter ends where they meet the external walls. During our initial inspection of a sample number of rafters, a year ago, we discovered that the rafter ends had rotted away & were largely detached from the wall plate on which they were sitting. Over the last year we have been working with the architect to design a number of options for repairing or renewing the rafter ends in oak & reseating them on a new wall plate, but we will not know the final extent of this work until a detailed survey is completed.
We have appointed an architect, structural engineer, cost consultant & ecologist to guide us through the project. The architect, Nicholas Warns Associates, specialises in the refurbishment of ancient buildings & worked on the recent restoration of Stow Bedon church. The ecologist is a ‘batman’. The church is home to a number of bats, which are a protected species, & we are required by law & the terms of our grant to ensure that we keep any disturbance to their habitat to the minimum. Although not ideal from a works point of view, we are taking advantage of the winter hibernation period to carry out the major part of the works.
Unfortunately the scale of the repair works is such that we have had to remove the cost of electrical works & new heating but we continue to seek new sources of funding, & we are very grateful for all those who have already, very kindly, made donations. We will need at least another £25,000 to enable us to reinstate the electrical works.
The PCC is very aware that the graveyard must be respected at all times by the contractors during the works. Eastern Foundry & their sub-contractors are aware of their responsibilities but please let Katharine (01953.483.318) or Henry (01953.488.911) know if you have any concerns & we will raise these with the contractor.