Transformation Project

 

 

THE ST MARY’S CHURCH GODMANCHESTER CHURCH  TRANSFORMATIO PROJECT – Background Paper

Documentation

Statement of Need – Click Here to View

Proposed Floor Plan – Click Here to View

Proposed Gallery Plan – Click Here to View

Proposed Church Section – Click Here to View

Concept Illustration – Click Here to View

In 2009 the Lent Group report to the Mission Action Plan Committee recommended development of the church facilities by:

  • Removing the pews
  • Installing toilets & kitchen
  • Moving the Rood Screen
  • Purchasing a laptop, projector and screen
  • Brightening the church interior – banners etc

The church had raised almost £40,000 in the development fund and the then Architect had produced some outline drawings, but the project was not progressed.By 2016 it became apparent that:

  • The Capital in the Development Account was devaluing and had effectively lost around £8,000 in purchasing power since 2009
  • The Church is only used for around 6 hours per week costing around £130 per hour
  • Its use for events is severely restricted by seating and lack of facilities
  • Godmanchester is a rapidly growing community

The original thoughts were triggered by a visit to Norton St Philip, Somerset where they had installed a hub in NW corner consisting of Office, Toilet, kitchen area and meeting room above.This resulted in the formation of the Development Group whose initial work was based on:

  • The Mission action plan March 2009
  • Early drawings for the church development

The group was officially sanctioned by the PCC and invited to continue their work developing a list of requirements including toilets, facilities for making hot drinks, a parish office and a choir vestry and meeting room, all capable of being heated independently, and the replacement of the pews with high quality chairs on a level, heated stone floor.We also looked at the possible replacement of the church hall, tied in with the development of the vicarage garden, but we have not been able to progress that suggestion, so the hall will have to last for another at least 10 years or so.We have had inputs from various sources including recent drawings from our church architect and some useful drawings from Don Harris, a retired architect from our congregation.  While this paperwork was proceeding we decided to visit churches that had developed their building, removed pews or fitted glass doors to the west end.  These were:

  • St Peter’s Yaxley where a series of 10 year projects had provided a kitchen area and in the tower area and an additional room above the existing vestry and tower area at the rear of the church and improved heating.
  • St Peter’s Church Oundle, housed a thriving community that had removed the pews, fitted warm air heating under the nave, built a dedicated storage room and various other improvements including stunning automatic glass doors and a glassed-in chapel. The church is used most days of the week for all manner of activities.
  • St Paul’s Church Bedford is a large church where the pews had all been removed and offices and a kitchen built across the rear of the church with additional seating above.
  • St James Little Paxton where all of the pews have been removed, under floor heating installed, a vestry and additional facilities for the ringers installed in the tower area and a kitchen area built in the south porch. They raised £400,000 without going to the Lottery fund.
  • Holy Trinity Haddenham installed a large office with mainly glass surrounds in their north aisle in 2001.
  • St Peter and St Pauls Alconbury were in the process of building an extension outside their north porch to house a toilet, kitchen and disabled access. They were also planning to erect a glass clad room in their NW corner with underfloor heating to use for meetings and eventually a café.
  • We looked at the glass doors at the west end of St John’s Church Peterborough, Peterborough Cathedral and Ripon Cathedral to get some idea of the options available.
  • We consulted the churchwarden at Cottenham about the removal of their pews where some serious negotiation was required, and they finally ended up with a submission to a consistory court to find a solution. They are in the process of a revised application for approval.

As part of our enquiries to provide a warm environment we looked at various heating options as we wished to include under floor heating in at least part of the church.  We discussed the pros and cons of ground sourced heat pumps and solar panels and had a meeting with the director of the firm that manages our boiler to seek his opinion on the best use of the existing heating and the most effective way of heating the new offices.Having produced a rough idea of what we required we invited the secretary of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches to visit us to seek her advice on what would be readily acceptable and where we may have difficulties in obtaining approval. Her feeling was that we would have an easier time if we concentrated our building in the north aisle and tower area so as not to spoil the vista of the nave and that we may we have some problems getting agreement to remove the pews although she felt that nothing is impossible.By this time, we felt that we had enough information to brief an architect and because of our research we recommended to the PCC that they accept Caroe Architecture as our architect and authorised the expenditure for their work from the Development Fund.  This was agreed by an extraordinary meeting of the PCC.Caroe Architecture proposed work up to the development of an approved Concept Design (RIBA Stage 3) up to and including obtaining approval from the relevant bodies (DAC, English Heritage etc.).  They also proposed, as a prelude to their design work, a digital laser survey of the whole church.  As well as forming the basis of their design this would provide a very accurate 3D image of the church internally and externally as a historical record and also the basis for any further work.   This was discussed with the survey company who confirmed that this was the minimum required for the project.Work was then started in conjunction with Caroe Architecture to produce a ‘Statement of Need’ and a final set of plans to meet those needs.Progress to date (5 Oct 18):

  • June 17 – we had a meeting with Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) to discuss the project
  • On the advice of the DAC the plans were refined to include a lift and more accessible staircase.
  • June 17 – Pew assessment to determine the historic value of the existing pews
  • We sought advice from Luke Hughes Church furnishers on possible pew replacements.
  • June 17 – We commissioned an analysis of paintwork on the stonework with a view to removing the paint from the stone arches and corbels.
  • The Godmanchester Porch Museum was offered space in the upper tower room for a permanent exhibition space.
  • The engineering consultants produced an estimate of around £1,300,000 for the project.
  • We are employing a professional fundraising organisation make submissions to a variety of bodies that provide grants for such projects
  • We have produced a paper giving background information on the project to accompany grant applications
  • The project was renamed St Mary’s Transformation Project
  • We have raised around £70,000 towards our share of the funding of which we have spent £40,500 on work to date. We anticipate reclaiming some of this under the VAT recovery scheme.