Revd Mark Hayton has released the following Q&A – please read before viewing the video of the plans.
QUESTION – Will All Saints Church be rebuilt?
ANSWER – Yes it most certainly will, and it will be better than ever.
QUESTION – Will it look like it did before?
ANSWER – Yes it will. From Church Road it will look much as it always did. Inside, the structure of the church will be substantially as it always was.
QUESTION – What will look different?
ANSWER – On the north side (Behind the church, where the churchyard is) we hope to build a new lady chapel, vestry, meeting rooms, and other facilities, with a cloister and separate entrance in order to provide facilities for prayer, reflection, small meetings – even some larger gatherings, which will we hope honour God and serve our community. We also plan to improve access to the church by restoring the west end entrance and porch that were there when the church was first built.
QUESTION – I see there are new plans on the website, what are these?
These are the latest set of plans drawn up by our architects following further consultation, discussion and the work of a small group on the final detail of what will be needed in our new church and annex.
- A reordered Nave in the church
- This will have a raised dais in front of chancel. Altar, Lectern and Pulpit will be together on a higher level. There will be room on either side for the choir. It is proposed to relocate the Organ in the old clergy vestry. This would allow for more space/natural light where organ used to be in the south east corner.
2. A new west entrance and narthex
- New west end entrance! This will restore a feature that was on the original church built by Burges in 1863. It will provide a much better ‘wow factor’ as you enter, and provide much better access for brides and coffins. It will consist of a glassed entrance chamber, an open cloister at north and south ends, a landscaped exterior and new parking layby.
3. A connecting Cloister, connecting the church to…
4. A whole new annex on the north side of the church, including
- A chapel to hold c 30 people – for midweek services, private prayer etc. that will be accessible separately from the church and rest of the narthex, and placed at the West end, so as to be prominent, reflecting our priority of providing a place for people to sit to pray, remember, be quiet, read, reflect.
- A servery/Kitchen to serve visitors to the church and or annex without the need to come to FPCC this is NOT a Kitchen, but somewhere to serve drinks and snacks.
- A Creche/ Meeting room – A multipurpose room next to the servery. It will have sliding doors which would make it possible to open up into the corridor if needed. This room could be hired out to community groups and used by the church community for a whole variety of purposes! A movable central partition would allow this room to be used by Junior Church and creche on Sundays, and by community groups of varying sizes on other days.
- A Choir Vestry – for use by the choir on Sundays and for choir practice. This room could be used by others on the other 5 days of the week. It will be located close to the church east end.
- Clergy vestry / sacristy – for server and clergy – with private area for clergy.
QUESTION – Are these the final plans?
ANSWER – No. These plans have been drawn up by our architects for the purpose of submitting a pre planning application to Hart District Council and the Diocese of Guildford. This will hopefully tell us whether what we are planning stands a chance of being allowed by these planning authorities.
Inevitably, changes to the plans will be proposed, which we will have to consider. Also, there will be changes we will need to make for practical or financial reasons as we draw closer to the FINAL plans and the start of rebuilding.
QUESTION – What about the font, pulpit, monuments, etc
ANSWER – The new All Saints will have all of these things. The old font was so badly damaged it will need to be replaced. The pulpit and monument can be repaired. Decisions will have to be made about when and how to repair these in a way that means the new church is fit for purpose for many years to come, rather than simply reproducing what was there before.
QUESTION – How will the church and annex be heated?
ANSWER – This has yet to be decided, though we have just received a heating report we commissioned earlier in the year. We are exploring the possibility of under floor heating supplemented by radiators. We are also looking into the possibility of ground source heating and solar power – we are a green church!
QUESTION – How long will all this take?
ANSWER – It will probably not be completed until the latter half of 2020.
QUESTION – Why is it taking so long?
ANSWER – From the beginning we were determined to bring something positive and good out of the tragedy that was the fire. We want the church to serve God and our community for many years to come and we want the new church to be the best it can be. None of us anticipated that it would take so long to clear, make safe, make plans, consult, appoint architects and other experts, produce a mountain of necessary paperwork and obtain the necessary permissions – all before a brick is placed!
It took us over a year to clear, make safe, and secure the site. We spent six months consulting our community about what we needed the new church to provide, and another six months appointing architects and getting options drawn up. We then consulted the authorities about our plans. In September 2017 we reluctantly abandoned our original plan to change the internal structure of the church as it became clear that we were unlikely ever to get permission to do that to a grade 2* listed building of high architectural importance! Since then we have drawn up new plans, worked on the fine detail, started a fund-raising effort, commissioned a tree survey and a heating consultation. I think that’s quite good progress!.
Others who have been through this experience tell us that actually we are moving quite quickly!
QUESTION – What happens next?
ANSWER – If the PCC approve the new latest plans at their meeting on 14th May, they will be submitted for preplanning application in May.
QUESTION – How much will it cost?
ANSWER – We don’t know for sure, this will depend on so much. It is likely to cost around £3,000,000. We anticipate around £2,500,000 coming from insurance, so may have to raise around £500,000 for improvements and extras. All this is without VAT!
We have formed a fundraising group and are working with professional expert advisors on an appeal.
We already have £75,000 donated by generous givers – without asking for it!
Revd Mark Hayton, Vicar