Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Plans getting drawn up!

For those of you wondering what's been happening - let me tell you we have been as busy as bees!

Initial conversion plan

We have now agreed an initial plan, and are getting ready to take it to planning permission - through listed building consent and English Heritage hoops as well!

In this initial plan:

  • The main entrance is ramped to allow disabled access. 
  • The porch is enclosed by glass to make a warm and welcoming space - yet the iron gates are kept and the glass allows the space to feel open.
  • To the right as you come in there is a meeting room, accessible from the porch.
  • In the main space, there is a clear floor area, the font has been moved into the chancel, the floor raised and new heating and lighting put in.
  • In the far aisle there is a pod which contains the kitchen and store area. To the right of the pod there is an exhibition space for local history and George Herbert. To the left there is a new door out into the toilet block, built into a small extension in the building (this gives us another fire exit and allows the building capacity to increase from 60 to more like 200).
  • The chancel is divided from the nave by a full height glass wall, with doors in the middle to allow weddings or school assemblies to use the whole space.
Other news

We are still working to see what uses the tower might be put to. We are looking at whether we can afford to put PV cells (solar power) on the tower roof yet (we know we want to, but there’s reams of paperwork and legal steps to go through). We are also re-investigating heating options - we want to be as "green" as possible, but need it to be effective as well! There are various legal procedures to go through in making the church redundant and then the Diocese leasing the building back to the Community Group and the PCC. The PCC also need to work on how they want to re-order the chancel. Sadly the organ is now in need of tens of thousands of pounds of repairs, and so we are looking to use a high quality electric one for services from now on. Nowadays the quality of these is so good, that few would be able to tell the difference.

We are really making good progress

Having the plans means we can start to do drawings and show people what the building will look like. It also means we can start negotiating with English Heritage and get to planning approval. Sorting out the leases means the fund-raising team can begin work in earnest on some of the larger funding sources. We have now raised enough money to pay the architect’s fees up to planning permission, and we have a grant for getting the gas and water supplies up to the church. There’s a way to go, but we’re beginning to see real progress.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Laser Survey

Wessex Archaeology’s geomatics team has recently concluded a laser scanning project at St. John’s Church in Bemerton, near Salisbury in Wiltshire. This was undertaken for Bemerton Community who with the assistance of Paul Stevens Architecture are in the process of converting part of the church for use as a community centre.

This most recent phase of work at St. John’s involved using a laser scanner to digitally map both interior and exterior surfaces of the church and its lych gate. This data will be used by the architect to plan detailed aspects of the construction and it will also serve as a pre-alteration heritage record for posterity.

This work complements a geophysical survey that was undertaken in the churchyard by Wessex Archaeology prior to the installation of services earlier in the year. This survey successfully identified a number of unmarked graves dating from the mid 19th Century as well as potential elements of the Church’s foundation structure.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Well under way

So the old broken heating is out (see What's On in Bemerton) and we are planning for gas and water installation. So it looks like we're making progress. Still the work of fundraising and getting local people involved continues. If you'd like to help, we're having a car-boot sale on Sunday 15th May. Moira Packer is super-human but she'd like to make us feel involved by helping with -

  • gazebos – she has one, but she still needs 4 or 5 more – please can anyone help by lending theirs?
  • publicity – the poster will go up along Lower Road, Post Office etc and there will be a copy in the Leisure Centre and also details on a number of car boot sale web-sites. Jane is going to see if we can put something up at the Harnham Cattle Market and we’re hoping for a mention in the Journal. If there's anywhere else you can put a poster up please get a copy from Peter Webster, myself or Moira.
  • Getting sellers – we're not so worried about the number of buyers as making sure we’ve got enough people selling .....if you know of anyone who might be interested in a pitch please can you encourage them to go for it !!
  • Volunteers to help with setting up taking down/marshalling cars – we have quite a lot to do to get ready in the morning (gazebos to get up, tables to be moved) and we also need to get the cars parked reasonably sensibly on the cricket field .... so if you know of anyone who could come and give us a hand first thing or afterwards they’ll be very welcome and it’ll make clearing up much quicker for us all.
  • Cakes - thanks to all those who’ve already offered to make cakes – if anyone else is able to make a cake it will be very much appreciated !
Why not get involved?