St Edward’s Church has been a thriving centre of worship for over 100 years, and throughout that time the building and facilities have been continuously developed, transformed and re-invented to take account of changing needs of the surrounding community. Since the establishment of St Edward's Music and Arts Centre in 2009, there has been a rapid increase in the use of both the church and the schoolroom buildings for meetings, rehearsals, exhibitions and concerts, as well as daily Church Services and Community Projects such as the "Forget-Me-Not" Cafe for people living with dementia and their carers.
As the community use of the site has been developed it has become clear that this is no longer “the Church” providing facilities for the wider community. Rather it is a large community (over 300) of people who share aims and responsibilities, and care about each other. It is a community drawn from all walks of life, and from quite a large area. Many feel that what happens at St Edward’s is worth travelling some distance to take part in, and worth the contribution of significant effort.
As more and more people use the church buildings, it is becoming clear that some of the facilities are inadequate, and the time has come to make some bold decisions about future developments on the site.
We are planning to redevelop the porch, WC and schoolroom area of the church site to better accommodate the growing needs of the congregation and community. It is envisaged that this would include
The entrance path to the porch is breaking up and difficult to negotiate for people with mobility issues. The door from the porch into the nave is too small, and not well designed for wheelchair users, those with mobility issues and the visually impaired.
The entrance to the schoolroom from the porch is cramped. Also when the second schoolroom door is open it impedes access to the WC. Although the WC room is a large space, the toilet and sink are not accessible for all. Neither are there any handrails or baby-changing facilities. This is also the only downstairs WC facility, which is totally inadequate for the number of people currently using the building.
A small walk-in cupboard houses the schoolroom central heating boiler and serves as the washing up area. A table in the corner of the schoolroom provides the tea-making facility, and storage area for cups and equipment for the community organisations. The room itself is well used, but often rather crowded.
After exhaustive discussion by St Edward's Committee, a Project Schedule was drawn up, and this has largely been adhered to. The congregations, and all the organisations that meet in the buildings, were invited to contribute, both verbally and by submitting letters in support of the overall project and suggesting areas where improvements are needed, and an Options Appraisal Document was produced. Over £25,000 was contributed by benefactors to finance the initial phase of the work, and National Churches Trust provided £1500 towards the architect's fees.
Amanda Needham of Volute Architects was appointed as architect and produced a Feasibility Study for the project, which, together with the Options Appraisal Document, was submitted to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) and approved by them.
The Architect appointed the professional team and surveyors, who conducted appropriate investigations and produced surveys for submission to the DAC and Local Planning Authority (LPA). The Architect then drew up the final plans for the project. The submissions to DAC were made in October 2018, and the project was approved. The proposals have now been submitted to the planning department at the Local Authority for planning and conservation area consent.
The following documents have been produced to explain the motivation for the project, and to show the work that has been done:
Volume 1: Options Appraisal (pdf) | Download | Open in viewer |
Volume 2: Surveys and Reports (pdf) | Download | Open in viewer |
Volume 3: Drawings (pdf) | Download | Open in viewer |
Design & Access Statement (pdf) | Download | Open in viewer |