St Mary’s Parish
Building Project 2015
St. Mary’s Church, overlooking the Market Square, has been a focus for the town for centuries. The church has also been a focus for marking significant events in the lives of many generations, particularly their births, marriages, and deaths.
Over the last twenty years, the building has fallen into a poor state, with the failure of the old heating system, and the poor materials and design of the Victorian nave. A bold plan for radical redevelopment of the building became prohibitively expensive.
Meanwhile, the Church community have continued to reach out to the town in service and hospitality, throwing the doors open whenever possible, so that this strategic building can continue to be a major asset to Atherstone and beyond.
We have now come to the point where we have a once in a generation opportunity to bring St Mary’s into a new chapter, making it once again a major focus for the town, with comfortable, attractive facilities, not just for ongoing Christian worship, but also as a quality centre for performing arts, concerts, and exhibition space, with a wide variety of events and activities bringing people in from far and wide throughout the week, and not just in the summer months. We believe that this new scheme is both realistic and achievable.
What will it involve?
The first phase will involve urgent repair works, identified in a recent major architectural survey. The church needs a new roof, which will be replaced along with upgraded insulation, and finished on the inside with light coloured soffits, which will significantly lighten the whole interior of the nave.
Further repairs and improvements are required to the stone work, guttering, and windows, as well as new lighting.
The rear of the church will be reordered, reducing the size of the current lounge area, and opening up two rear bays, to give a large multi-use area in the main body of the church.
The pews would be replaced and underfloor heating installed, with flexible seating to accommodate a wide range of different events and celebrations, as required.
In the north aisle, a suite of rooms will provide a new kitchen/coffee bar, with new toilets, and store rooms.
The medieval chancel and tower crossing would be left much
as they are, with a new glazed screen separating the chancel at the arch,
creating another separate worship/meeting area.
All of the relevant planning authorities have been consulted and have invited us to apply for formal planning permission.
Large diagrams and plans are on display at the back of church, so
please drop in and see the details for yourselves.
Alternatively you can download a complete set of the Proposal Drawings here to view on your own computer.
How much will it
The necessary repairs will cost approximately £300,000. Major grant aid is being sought to meet this, as we work with the H.L.F. development team.
The improvements, including the heating and enhanced facilities, will cost in excess of approximately £800,000. We will be approaching local businesses and individuals locally, as well as other grant making bodies to achieve this.
At this early stage, aspects of the plans are still open to adjustment, as further research is undertaken on the particular needs across the town which could be met with a redeveloped parish church building. We are also exploring the feasibility of a ground source heat pump system, and other green energy options, which will affect overall costings.
When is it going to happen?
The rate of progress of the works will be dependent on the success of fundraising. If we are successful with our first ‘reroofing’ phase, work could begin in the Spring of 2016.
Every one of us can help, by giving towards the building
Cheques can be made payable to St Mary’s P.C.C., Atherstone. (Please mark it for the building fund). If you are a U.K. tax payer, then by gift aiding your donation, for every £10 pledged, the government will add a further £2.50 to the cause.
If you would like to pledge a one off gift, or a regular amount, for a particular period, you can do that on-on line, by clicking on the blue "Support Us" button, using our on-line giving service give.net.
If you want to make a donation, by cash or cheque, please make cheques payable to St. Mary's P.C.C. Atherstone (please mark your cheque for the BUILDING FUND). Alternatively you will find yellow envelopes in church, marked BUILDING FUND, into which you can put your donation.
Remember! If you pay UK income tax, you can Gift Aid your donation, which will mean we get an extra 25p for £1 you donate.
We would also like to invite you to get involved in the project. Our vision for the building is to see it develop as a partnership of all sections and individuals across the town, working together to put Atherstone on the map, to showcase what a rich heritage we have, and what a great town this is, and work to enhance our community life, especially for the more disadvantaged and isolated members.