Taking STOCK of ROCK
A message to the Church from James Couchman (Vice- Chair PCC); Paddy Gleave (Churchwarden) Peter Ward (Churchwarden)
Hopefully, you have all seen or read the news that B&NES has granted planning permission for the external changes to the church and also the brilliant news that there has been a gift from within the Church of £125,000. Just in case you are not up to speed on these two things, click here to see the interview and read the ROCK Update for January.
Following on from these encouraging developments, the PCC has just spent two hours over two meetings spread across two weeks prayerfully considering ‘what next?’ We had a very good level of discussion during which many viewpoints and questions were raised. At the end of the discussion, all sixteen members of the PCC were unanimous in agreeing to go ahead with the following steps:
To complete the process of getting planning permission (a ‘faculty’) from the Diocese;
To get on with the process of meeting the planning conditions laid down by the Council;
To commission the next stage of detailed design work, which will enable us to do (1) and (2) above, as well as get us to the point of being ready to go out to tender – when we have the necessary funds;
To work up the next phase of our fundraising strategy.
Of course, the Covid Pandemic raises questions about what churches and churchgoing will look like in the future, but the PCC is confident that we do need a modern, flexible, and beautiful building with good facilities for the 2020’s and well beyond. However we did seriously consider the possibility of ‘just’ working up plans for the interior and shelving plans for the addition to the church. But we felt that this would create as many problems as it might solve. Crucially we heard that it would be virtually impossible to provide a legally valid disabled entrance within the outline of the present church (the current entrance ‘round the back’ via the vestry does not satisfy the legal requirements). Furthermore, we understand that the savings (in the long run) would not be that great.
The PCC therefore decided to stick with working up the current proposals which include: an extension containing a fully accessible entrance and foyer, a kitchen, separate male and female toilets, and a room suitable for a creche on Sunday mornings or for other gatherings outside of church services.
All of the points above will take some time and we do not envisage starting work before mid-2022 at the earliest (except for the car park extension). The ROCK team also made clear that we would only start the actual building work, when we know we have sufficient funds, even if that means some kind of phasing, but if we phase, it will be in line with the overall master-plan, not a piecemeal approach.
Yes, progress is slower than we would like, but at least there is now some hope that we can get things going before too long.
Finally, the ROCK Team will shortly host a ROCK-UP Zoom meeting, which will be open to everyone to put their questions and thoughts. Date to be announced.