Progress Report - March 2017
The Church has had two big projects in this millennium - the renewal of the covering on both the nave and chancel roofs, and other important repair work in 2006 (about £150K), and the bells project in 2009 (about £85K). The PCC has been planning the next big project for some years, principally to make sure that the plans were the best solution to our need to provide modern facilities in the Church, but in keeping with the beautiful Grade I listed building. Some good progress has been made in the last two years with the appointment of architects, consideration of a range of options for positioning the new toilet in particular, reaching a decision on the best one, and obtaining faculty approval (the Church equivalent of planning permission), both for the improvement plans, but also for a range of important repair work.
The faculty approval granted at the end of last year had taken more than six months from the application, and in that time there was a routine 5-yearly architect's inspection of the Church. This inspection revealed some urgent repair work needed to the stone mullions on the two medieval windows that wasn't previously known about. This had obviously not been included in the faculty application, and a further faculty application will have to be made to cover this extra work. This will be submitted soon after a specialist survey to determine if there is any other work required (probably to the stained glass) on these windows that it would be sensible to carry out at the same time.
By the time you read this there should have been two further significant developments. Firstly, tenders for the whole project should have been received from three contractors experienced in work on heritage buildings like our Church, and these will give us the first realistic appreciation of the total cost of the project. Secondly, the initial outcome of a funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund should be known. With both of these, the funding strategy can be drawn up. However, it is already clear that the ‘local' Friends contribution will be a key element in securing grants from major funders, which the Bardwell Grant Getting Group (the BGGGs) will be applying for over the coming months.
Progress Update March 2018
A year ago we reported on the plans for a big project in the church to provide some modern facilities (including a toilet and kitchenette) in keeping with the historic building, and to carry out some important urgent repairs. You will have seen that physical work has not yet started but much work has been going on to move the project forward.
The repair to the cracked mullions in both the windows containing the medieval stained glass of national significance will necessitate the removal of the glass to repair the masonry, so it makes sense to carry out any necessary work on the stained glass at that time. A specialist report has confirmed the work to be done to clean, repair and conserve the glass. A second faculty (the church equivalent of planning permission) has been requested and approved during the year, principally to cover the work on the stained glass windows.
We have selected our preferred principal contractor and have all the work within the project costed: perhaps unsurprisingly, the costs are much higher than we had hoped or expected. The costs, including architects fees, allowances for contingencies and inflation, and VAT come in at some £324K (about £192K for the new work and £132K for repairs). Thus the Bardwell Grant Getting Group (the BGGGs) has a major task to raise this money through donations and grant applications. Thus far we have had four donations, made 27 applications to grant funders, 10 of which have been successful, 5 unsuccessful, and we are waiting to hear from the rest. A further 4 applications are currently being prepared with more to follow. So far nearly £140K has been raised towards our target, including the valuable contribution that the Friends are expected to contribute towards the project, and the refund of VAT that should come through the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme.
We very much hope that we can raise all the funding required this year so that the whole project can be undertaken together – if it has to be carried out in phases costs are likely to increase. However, if this can’t be done, some elements will have to go ahead this year anyway, as that is the condition attached to some of the grants already awarded. Thus the pressure is on for the BGGGs to put in grant applications as quickly as they reasonably can.
The BGGGs is a small friendly group of 4 villagers who would welcome additional help. If you think you might be willing to join this group or simply want to find out more, please contact Dave Ray