This is phase 3 of our ongoing project and the work started on 8th June 2020 and is expected to take 12 weeks. It comprises a number of aspects:
A redesigning and reconfiguration of the main entrance to the church, the north door. This will see proper disabled access into the building through the provision of very gentle ramps and slopes rather than steps. Those entering the church will walk straight ahead (rather than the current arrangement involving several right angle turns). When complete the experience of entering the building will be more welcoming and easier for all.
The area immediately outside the north porch gates will be raised to create a stone semicircle at the same height as the north porch floor, the churchyard paths leading to it will be sloped gradually. This will eliminate the fist step.
New sliding (automatic) doors will be installed just inside the porch (with sufficient room for the gates to open inwards as presently). This area will be enclosed thus creating an air lock in the remaining porch. Existing gates (listed) and oak doors will be retained and restored but will remain open and out of the way when the church is open.
New sliding (automatic) doors will be installed just inside the porch (with sufficient room for the gates to open inwards as presently). This area will be enclosed, and heated, thus creating an air lock in the remaining porch.
The floor in the greater part of the porch (once through the new sliding glass doors) will slope gradually to the height of the church floor (eliminating the second step) and will be finished with a non slip surface. (The existing tiles are badly cracked and unusable).
The double doors immediately ahead that form the final barrier to the church will be replaced with hindged glass doors. Some of the panelling in this lobby will also be replaced with glass. The existing door (to the left) will be sealed. The current entry door to the left in this lobby will be sealed and the broken leaded glass in it will be restored.
Please see below to download and view some of the drawings.
A proper redesigning of the welcome area. New furniture has already been made by Tim Hawkins of Fine Furniture in Herefordshire (Tim also made our nave altar). This will give a specially designed welcome and reception space by the main entrance.
Disabled access to the chancel – We’ve considered various options here and concluded that this will be best provided by improving access via the external chancel door on the north wall. Access will be improved by sloping paths (which are almost level anyway) and improving the door so that it will be more airtight. Appropriate signing will be provided. This door will then be unlocked too, when the church is unlocked, thus creating a flat accessible route into the chancel as well as second escape route from the building when it is open.
Beyond Phase 3
There are various smaller projects around the church which are gradually being tackled.
A new nave altar – this is already in place. Designed and made by Tim Hawkins it is not only an excellent piece of furniture but gives a much more interrupted view through into the chancel and to the high altar than was possible with its predecessor.
A “tidying up” of certain areas in the church that currently don’t look their best (such as the particularly unattractive roof in the choir vestry / tower)
The provision of WiFi this too has now been installed and available to all.
External floodlighting – This is underway and currently (summer 2020) awaiting planning (faculty) approval. The present lighting is no longer energy efficient and of the seven lights originally a part of the scheme only one still works. New lighting will be high quality LED and will allow the possibility for the colour to be changed. The light on top of the church, at the east end of the nave that lights the east face of the tower and spire is being reinstated (this has not worked for 20 years).
This project is being managed and funded by The Friends of St Mary’s Church