I am at last delighted to be able to write with some good news. After months of apparent inactivity and negotiation, I am able to tell you that the Insurance Company have finally agreed a settlement of just over £2m for the rebuilding of the church. This means that we can set a budget at last and begin the process of detailed plans and applications for permission.
We have already had to spend nearly £300,000 of this on the first stage of the project, making the church ruin secure and covered, and you will have seen that the tower covers have been replaced again.
I also know that some of you have been waiting until this point to know how much extra we have to raise before making a donation to the Restoration Fund. We have instructed our architects to work within a budget of £2.2m, which will mean that we are able to add a small extension behind the tower for much needed toilet facilities, and another at the East end behind the vestry to provide an office. This brings the facilities currently divided between church, church room and Vicarage shed, into one place.
This leaves us with £160,000 to find; we have already accumulated about £70,000, so we have an overall target of around £90,000 to raise. Until construction starts and we have bills to pay, we plan to invest most of the cash payment received with the insurance settlement, and expect that the interest this investment earns will make a useful contribution to the target.
So what’s next ?
The first thing is that I am trying to arrange a village meeting, when the architects can come and present the outline plan to you and answer any questions you might have. The PCC has already approved this outline design, as have English Heritage and the Diocesan Advisory Committee, but this has all been conditional on budget. Now that we have a basic budget to work with, we know what is feasible, and therefore can invite you to come and see what is proposed within those limitations.
The second thing is to press on with obtaining permissions from the various statutory bodies as the plans we have are made more detailed and specific. This could take time, but is essential.
While this is going on, we also need to set about raising our target figure of £90,000. We plan to set up a fund-raising group who can mastermind various events and activities, so if you would like to be part of this, or have any fund-raising schemes and ideas, please do get in touch with Don Simpson (426652) . I am hoping that this process will actually be quite fun, as it will mean doing things together as a community, and then celebrating the end result together.
So I am delighted that we are moving into this next stage of the process – it has taken a long time, but we hope to make faster progress from now on.
Thank you again for your patience and support – we will get there !
Rev Martin Green