St Mary's Church Westwood Wiltshire



News from the Church Wardens

Church Fabric Repairs

The first phase of the repairs to the external stonework on the south and east of the church is complete. The stonemason will return later in the year to continue around the north side. In the meantime he has discovered that four of the merlons (crenelations) on the south of the nave are too badly cracked to repair and will have to be replaced at a net cost of £1,790 and we are awaiting the diocese's permission to vary the original faculty. This will of course impact on the money we have available to complete the rest of the work, and the PCC is considering how far our funds will stretch.

Parish Room.    Planning permission for the upgrading is still being progressed.

Church Heating

As was reported in the last Update we have to replace our non-compliant oil tank this summer. We now have approval to do so when the heating is turned off, but as a result the PCC has investigated the costs of converting the system to gas. Although the costs will be few hundred pounds more than fitting a new oil tank, we have decided for the benefit of the longer term to lay on gas to the church and fit a gas fired boiler. The costs have been kept to a minimum on the basis that the trench excavation work will be done by volunteers, and David Adcock has volunteered his expertise and labour to help us, to install the boiler and to connect up the system. We have submitted our "petition" to the diocese and we hope to get the first stage approval at the end of May, at which point we can have the old tank removed, apply for planning permission to dig the trench in a conservation area, and to contract Wales and West Utilities to provide a gas meter connection.

Health & Safety

The upgrading of the electrical system in the church tower together with emergency lighting is now complete.

Churchyard

We had hoped to have the grass in the churchyard cut in time for Easter, but having made contact with Wiltshire Council it seems that the mowing programme is running a few weeks behind. We are assured it will be cut early in May.

David Chalmers Jonathan Azis Churchwardens

 


Article published: 08 Jun 2014

News from the Church Wardens

Due to a late submission there was no report in the last Westwood Update, so this one covers the last four months.[Update April/May 14]

Church Fabric Repairs

The stonemason has started work on the south side of the church but due mainly to the weather was badly delayed over Christmas and New Year. But as anyone walking past the church now will have seen, he is well underway with replacing eroded stone and repointing the south and east faces. The repair work we would like to do would have a total cost of £19,500. Although we have successfully secured three grants totalling £8,000, and have £6,000 allocated from our own Fabric Fund, we do not have sufficient funds to complete the work. As a result some lower priority repairs on the more sheltered north side will need to be deferred.

Parish Room

The planning of the Parish Room development has been continuing, with negotiations both with the Diocese on its charitable status and Wiltshire Council for planning approval. Nigel Honer who has been masterminding the latter has progressed well and is nearly ready to submit a planning application. Financially, we have had a generous offer of support (up to £15,000) from Holy Trinity in Bradford and we will, we hope, be able to strike a deal with the National Trust (up to £25,000) to let their visitors use the lavatories. We are very grateful for these. However, we still have a mountain to climb to raise the funds required and we will shortly be putting together a Parish Room Development group to pursue that with vigour.

Church Heating

The church insurance company has pointed out to us that the oil tank no longer meets current safety legislation and should be replaced with one that can retain 110% of its contents in a fund in case of leakage. The cost of such a new tank, and the alternative costs of converting the church to gas fired heating are being investigated.

Health & Safety

We have received approval (a "faculty") from the Diocese to upgrade the electrical system in the church tower to include emergency lighting and the work on this should be completed before Easter   The bell-ringers are also arranging for a hand rail to be fitted on the outer wall of the stairwell as an improvement on the old piece of rope running up the centre of the spiral.

Church Furniture

We are very grateful to Derek Pearce for repairing and restoring our old church chest, now used for holding the music books for the organ, as well as the chair which has long stood in the porch but had become to rickety to sit on safely. They both now have a few hundred more years of life.

David Chalmers Jonathan Azis Churchwardens


Article published: 07 Apr 2014

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