Notes from the Congregational Meeting to discuss St Mary’s Church, Fordingbridge, and Church Hall development plans.

Wed 4 December 2019, 7.00pm-8.30pm, St Mary’s, Fordingbridge, Church Hall

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.  

1. Church Roof

A plan of the church roof was displayed

Progress so far:

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. 

2. 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:

On south side (pink)

On south side adjacent to choir vestry (buff) •    area of paving to be relaid and repointed. 

Around west end of church (blue)

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:

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. 

South Porch: 

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. 

Grants: 

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. 

Clock Project

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. 

Glazing Repairs

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: 

Rationale refurbishment for PCC: 

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

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. 

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