It is now over 5 years since the Parochial Church Council of St Cuthbert’s resolved to sell the Church Hall and, with the proceeds, replace the functionality of the Hall in the Church by:
moving the font to the front of the Church
installing toilets and a kitchenette in the rear of the south aisle area.
replacing 2/3 of the pews with chairs to enable a large part of the floor-space to be adaptable for a variety of functions including hire for Community functions (screened off from the remaining front permanent worship area).
For a time, replacement of the crumbling South Aisle Roof had to take precedence. Then, having advertised the Hall for sale, we had several abortive attempts at a sale. One of the problems was off road parking, the only viable solution being to use the drive down to the lower floor of the Hall. The highways department insisted on a reduction in height of the Clergy House roadside wall which was recently completed.
I am pleased to report that everything has now come together and the Hall has been sold to Gary & Alison Parr and family for conversion to a domestic dwelling. Their offer was accepted in April 2017 and they have been very patient whilst various obstacles have been overcome.
Although plans for the Community Facility in the Church have long been drawn and a faculty obtained we are only now (in February 2018) going out to tender for the work as we wanted to be reasonably confident that enough funding was immediately available.
Funds include two legacies, grant funding, fundraising funds and now the proceeds from Sale of the Hall. We can expect the work to go ahead this year but timing will depend on identifying a suitable period for both the Church and chosen builder.
We still have other work to do including replacement heating (with radiant heaters). The next job after that will be replacing the roof slate-work which is required due to increasing frequency of slates coming loose due to “nail tiredness”. The opportunity will be taken when the slates are replaced to introduce some insulation/draft prevention material.
As you will see from the above, fundraising will need to continue to make St Cuthbert’s a more comfortable and adaptable facility for future use not just as a church but to serve the community. It will offer a large floor area especially for groups and events requiring more space than is available elsewhere.