Notes from the Congregational Meeting to discuss St Mary’s Church
and Church Hall development plans.
Wed 4 December 2019, 7.00pm-8.30pm, St Mary’s Church Hall
See Appendix on Page 4 for attendees. 7.10pm. Introduction by Ian Newman, introduced Antony Feltham-King, Church Architect. Opening hymn, prayers and Bible reading. Matthew gospel 26:6-10, 13 Presentation by Ian: Fordingbridge is about Worship – Mission – Community PCC has a responsibility to keep the church in good condition and to be missional out in the community. PCC has made the decision to use the Lillington Legacy to put God’s house in order, for future generations to enjoy, by refurbishing the hall building and church as hubs to go out into the community. Over the centuries there have been many changes to the church building. As a Christian community our focus should be about welcome.
St Mary’s Church Works Projects Antony Feltham-King gave a presentation and explanation of the different works planned for St Mary’s Church. Namely: Church roof, Access project and Church hall project, additional minor projects music stands/frontals for choir. Professional detailed surveys have been carried out of the roof, the churchyard and the church hall to assist the specification and tender process.
- Church Roof
A plan of the church roof was displayed
• different parts require repair for various reasons, lead lasts about 100 years.
• nave roof was last replaced in 1906, was good work but now old, the lead is thin and pulling apart
• tower roof and gutters need repair
• rainwater goods (downpipes) and gutters leak, split and/or blocked and need repair/replacement
• blocked drains, water laying on paths
At end of project all will be water right.
Progress so far:
• work specification written, submitted to Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) for approval on a like for like basis.
• an alternative to lead is Stainless Steel (Ternecoat)
• two costing options have been requested, for lead and SS.
• PCC prefer SS option but until it has been approved and the costs known no final decision can be made.
• DAC meet 11 December 2019.
• DAC Secretary felt use of SS is non contentious, less susceptible to being stolen, sharp edged and difficult to remove. Cheaper than lead and lifespan slightly less, 80 years.
• SS has been used on the flatter north aisle repair, so has set a precedent
• However, will require planning consent from NFDC as it is a change of material.
• if get approval then can go to tender early 2020, get a response by Easter
• get going summer when weather favourable….timing is at our discretion.
Response to questions:
A. Whilst this is going on the church can be used, but will be noisy, work can stop if funeral etc.
A. Will take 3-4 months.
A. Access to inside of roof is included in spec and will allow a sum for looking at internal carpentry….difficult to know whether any damage until get up there to see.
A. SS is lighter, so may have been chosen in past if it had been available.
A. SS would attract attention with local planning authority. DAC favourable.
A. Unable to give a figure for the total cost at this stage.
- Access into the church building, paths and car parking
Difficulties for anyone with slight disabilities entering the church.
South porch currently the only level access point and no way to open door unless accompanied.
A plan of the churchyard and its paths was displayed. Paths/car Park:
• accurate plans been drawn up.
• different areas have been identified for upgrade. (pink, buff and blue)
On south side (pink)
• boundary fence to replace or repair
• car park area to widen, clean grid and relay the gravel, add more gravel
• 5 car park spaces, allows access into church yard for maintenance.
• new area of paving for 2 specific areas for accessible parking.
On south side adjacent to choir vestry (buff)
• area of paving to be relaid and repointed.
Around west end of church (blue)
• existing gravel to be replaced with better gravel, clay bonded used by NT.
• permeable, gives a level and good surface for wheelchair users
Glass and wooden entry doors have reached end of natural life, need replacing.
Path from lych gate laid 1982.
Entry is via a series of steps within the porch, difficult for everyone to negotiate.
North Porch Proposal:
• Remove steps and replace with a ramp of stone.
• Ramp to start far back along path from lych gate.
• Dig up and relay stone slabs.
• Glass doors will be taller, auto opening. Top of doors stay in same position and threshold lowers.
• Need a slot drain to take away water.
• Inner wooden doors can be extended on bottom edge to meet level of the nave.
• May need archaeological help as excavating down, possibility of graves/remains
• Automatic locks to be fitted. Eg. 8.30am to 4.30pm. Under law do not need automatic
• Under equality act this provides equal and dignified access for all.
• Safety point of view…if there is a fire and with no fire alarm could power open the doors. Emergency override.
• If there for a fire during the service, then stewards would direct people…training of stewards would be responsibility of the Churchwardens. NB. Part of our H&S policy.
Response to questions:
A. Would still be glass doors, gives sense of transparency. Drawn to the light. A. Life of the automatic door mechanisms will need annual maintenance, concern expressed that often go wrong. Cost implications.
A. St Mary’s does have alternative doors if they fail and they can be opened manually.
A. Drain water would be routed away to avoid flooding.
A. The gradient of the path will be very slight to avoid it being more slippery than now.
A. Slope 1:20 does not require a handrail but one could be fitted for us by church users and passers-by.
A. Expect to reuse the headstones, relay slabs on top of regular paving as a sub bass.
A. Maintain clear drain grid to avoid blockages.
A. There is a small slope up before the glass doors to avoid water running in.
A. Need very good quality doors to avoid frequent problems encountered by some present (Penton Motors, Avonway).
A. Could be push pad, sensor or both. Push button for way out. Do not want door operating by casual passers-by. It could be accommodated and would not be detrimental to the building.
A. door blows open, would replace the latch.
Next steps on Access Project:
B&F committee looking at it and then apply for a Faculty. Need to move swiftly.
A. Could be done in sections, but to tie in with roof works.
Already got local charity offering about £20k to project. TH Russell Trust.
Friends of Fordingbridge Parish Church: offered to assist with wind coming through west door, possible to remedy at low cost and to assist with North glass doors replacement. Churchwardens to write to FOFPC Chairman.
To turn tenor bell, repair clapper. Chime to be restored. Will also have system to avoid power failure. £1400 to have this done. Bell ringers in favour.
Aim is for clock to strike for VE Day. Since 1472 there has been a tower with bells at St. Mary’s. For over 100 years the clock has struck the hour. It has been striking until very recently until about 12 years ago. . Neighbours will be informed.
East window (1974) in North Chapel, buckling. Salisbury Cathedral Glass to take out and replace to avoid it falling in.
Grant submission to Worshipful company of glaziers reported by Nigel Spratt…important window to the church even though not historic. Maybe get £6k.
Other windows need attention….broken panes in west and east windows will be covered by our insurance….£3k to those and the other stained glass window under tower, plus porch damage, awaiting Toilet in choir vestry air vents, need new grills.
Millennium window…buckling because no support bars across. Salisbury glass will add supports and wire back, repoint in. £500.
Next steps to improve church, all dependent on funds
Heating – taking advice from heating engineers.
Redecoration – desirable
Sacristy…been promised £3K towards this project.
The Lillington Centre and Church Hall (NB. possible new name, no decision yet)
Ian gave a brief history of the building: 1954 REME building. Designer Mr Richard Medley and the Building Construction foreman, Mr John Parker, worshipped at St Mary’s. The cost of the Hall was £5000. Now wish to convert it into a missional space and a building for 21st Century.
Antony Feltham-King displayed a detailed plan of the building with some suggested new extensions and changes of use. Structural engineer…says structure is sound. Has a future and has a history. Properly surveyed to have good drawings to work from. Proposal to adapt to make a missional space. Works suggested:
• Retain main hall and the rear storerooms.
• Remove stage floor, fit soundproof doors.
• Remove roof covering and replace with thermal insulation and new roof covering over top.
• North side …add kitchen, stores and utility room
• South side…daylight in through full-length doors onto courtyard and Benefice Office.
• Ventilation needed.
• Options for heating the building; have a report from Mechanical & Heating Consultant, not yet issued report to B&F Committee.
• Provide new accessible entrance and toilet.
Rationale refurbishment for PCC:
• Need a meeting room for PCC, and other small church meetings. Nowhere at moment.
• Need revenue from hall hire, both regular and one-off events
• Provides a proper kitchen (as does current building but needs upgrade)
• Need the space for our own community activities and church activities
• Biggest single space outside of Burgate
Response to questions:
A. extra meeting room is needed for church use and don’t want to impinge on Avonway and Victoria rooms.
A. double glazed windows and doors to avoid drafts.
A. parking spaces alongside north wall will go…access to main car park would be narrower.
A. disabled toilet access through new lobby – needs space to give easy access.
A. heating – will avoid gas where possible, consider solar panels to save on energy costs.
A. floor is sprung, and it could stay for dance classes.
A. If under floor heating chosen then floor would be removed.
A. Stage area can still be used, with portable staging.
A. Comment that it’s an ugly building, doesn’t do anything for street scape, better to knock down and start again….would be little different costs? This has been thought about… Quantity Surveyor can give the two options.
A. Work could take about 9-10 months.
A. Need to sit with quantity surveyor to get the basic cost, plus various options.
A. Can make the outside more attractive.
Grants available for Church and Church Hall: Nigel Spratt making submissions
• Our commitment to the community will open opportunities for some grants.
• Lot of interest shown by various providers at a recent meeting.
• National lottery heritage fund may give money for roof. Criteria is making heritage available to local community. Interactive screens to display things of interest in church building. Lot of interesting historic facts in/out of building. Want to link to museum, schools, youth groups etc. Once convince the NLHF of this side of the project then they will also wish to protect the heritage, roof leaking, so this would be potential for grant also.
• Nigel requesting £250K from NLHF
• National Lottery community fund to approach for Church Hall grants; potentially Lillington Centre and Church Hall….attract community into the centre, kitchen, courtyard. Lot of work before we can submit the claim, asking community what they want. Welcome packs….can add to it. Will go to 150 new houses…lot of work to do.
• Cornerstone grants, if we meet criteria could give £50k.
• TH Russell Trust already offered for Access to church project and will be interested in accessibility ot church hall community project.
• Biffa have provided money in Winchester for a project to improve car parking, we may be able to approach them to upgrade the Glebe Field. We rent this from the Diocese, they look on an upgrade favourably.
• FOFPC willing to help with car park and other issues if asked…CW to write to Chairman.
Don’t want Lillington Legacy used to pay common mission fund/ parish share…diocese is supportive but need to spend it on mission and community.
The meeting ended with prayer at 9.40pm.
Antony Feltham-King (Church Architect), Revd Canon Gary Philbrick, Ian Newman (Churchwarden), Nigel Spratt (Churchwarden), Janet Spratt (PCC), Margaret Weston, Michael Ireland, John Dowsett (PCC), Judith Dowsett (PCC Sec), Trevor Tague, David Melbourne, Sarah Perrelle (PCC), Pat Stauber, Rosemarie Price, John Bloomfield, Pat Bloomfield (PCC), Jean Groves, Patricia Detheridge, Chris Carter, Gillian Benfield, Glenda Gardiner, Kay Pidgley, Christine Bryant, Sally Johnson, Jane Calver (PCC, apologies left early), Martin Calver (PCC Treasurer), Jeremy Houghton-Brown, Janet Brown, Alan Brown, Wendy Cracknell, Graham Fry (B&F com), Gwenda Moore (PCC), Christine Pope, Ruth Daykin, Hazel Banham, Melvyn Beynon, Keith Ponting, Gail Newell, Dee Stephenson, Jaye Saltrick, Jennifer Craythorne, Barry Craythorne, Sue Hiorns* (left at 7.55pm, returned at 8.10pm), Dorothy Ashford, Robert Wilson. A number of people* left at 9pm