WHY THIS PROJECT?
St. Peter’s Church is already active in our local community. We want to maintain and improve the facilities and service that we provide to our local community for the future
WHY THIS NAME
We wanted a name to reflect what we were trying to achieve through this project.
Cornerstone is a building block fundamental to the structural integrity of a building, giving it firm foundations for the future, so it was highly appropriate to a project seeking to conserve our current facilities and their Roper heritage.
We have a problem in that our church has ‘concrete cancer’. This is a failure of pre-cast concrete used in the construction of postwar non-traditional buildings. Basically water penetration and/or the presence of chloride cause the reinforcement rods to rust and expand resulting in concrete cracking. You can see the effects through this link. Various preventative measures have been taken but we now have to take more fundamental action. This is not only to protect the structure and safety of its users, but also to preserve the art and design heritage of the artist Frank Roper which is present throughout our church in etched and stained glass and caste aluminium decorations.(If you follow this link you can find out more about Roper and his work at St. Peter’s)
A CHALLENGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY?
We appreciate that this is a considerable challenge, but also saw an opportunity to ensure that our facilities continue to make a significant contribution to our local community in the years to come.
HOW DID WE IDENTIFY COMMUNITY NEEDS?
So we carried out a local community survey to establish what further facilities and activities would be of benefit. We did this in February 2014. This produced an ambitious project including a new community café and a range of enhanced facilities for our many users costing £1.5M. Planning permission was obtained for the project in 2016. A search for grant funding was launched. Regrettably the response received in late 2017 were not positive on affordability grounds. It was therefore necessary to look at the whole project again to see if it could be restructured to have a greater chance of future success
In 2018 The Church Council looked again at the scope of the project and were adamant that they still wished to preserve its community aspects, and our Roper heritage, in any future proposals. As a first step the Diocesan Advisory Committee were again consulted and gave advice on the way ahead. This suggested an initial focus on the Roper Peter Window. With a conservation report. The report’s findings were received in 2018 and recommendations made for a trial removal of one pane of the Roper glass. A further review of options was requested by the DAC and then Covid struck putting all further work into abeyance.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
The trial removal has now taken place and work is in hand to prepare and cost proposals for the removal of the Roper glass and the replacement of the concrete cancer mullions. Other parts of the enhancements to the community facilities are being carried forward with an emphasis on the Community kitchen and energy efficiency measures taking account of the Global climate emergency.
Watch this space as the project progresses.
If you would like to support this project then you can donate here;