Church Open Meeting 15th July 2014


An open meeting was convened in church at the invitation of the Vicar, Canon Geraldine Pond, to draw attention to the concerns of the PCC regarding the state of the church roof, which is Grade 11  listed building.

In response to the invitation that was circulated to all  households in the village 56 people attended the meeting, and a further 30 sent apologies.

The meeting was jointly chaired by the Vicar and Archdeacon Chris Cunliffe, who introduced the church architect Mark Parsons.   Mark carries out the Quinquennial  review of the church. This 5 yearly review forms the basis of a report for the PCC and highlights areas within the building that need attention.

The problem :

Mark explained the basic structure of the roof of the nave which is the area giving concern. The chancel roof has been built differently and presents no problems!

a)      The interior of the roof is plastered, which was then painted to look like wood. The plaster was fixed directly to the roof on narrow wooden battens below the clay roof tiles. This was constructed when the church was built in 1845, and the plaster is now crumbling, and falling down in small chunks, and fine dust.

b)      Whilst there is currently minimal risk to church users (plaster pieces are small and at present confined to the back of the church) the situation WILL deteriorate. Bad weather eg high winds, storms will accelerate loosening of the plaster and it is reasonable to expect only 10 -15 years more of usage as is currently carried out.

c)       Temporary repairs can be carried out, but these would be piecemeal .Such repairs, which  would involve scaffolding, would cost around £30,000

d)      It is not advisable to put in a lower “ceiling”  and board each section as there will be risks of condensation and further damage to the underlying structure due to rotting of the original nails and wooden battens.

e)      The preferred option which will ensure the security and life of the roof is to replace the whole structure. This would cost  around  £150,000

f)       This option requires application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Advantages of this option :

a)      Will last!

b)      Will be safe

c)       Retains the original design which has lasted over 150 yrs

d)      Will fulfil one of the key criteria of the Heritage Lottery  Fund  – ie they will consider a grant for full replacement but not for partial repair

e)      If a grant is awarded HLF will also give an additional 16% of the grant towards refurbishment /improvement of the building eg to extend building to provide toilet/kitchen facility which enhances both the ministry and the community use of the building .

Way forward:

a)      We need agreement that HLF application is the way we wish to proceed

b)      To support the grant application, which is made by the PCC, there needs to be supporting comments/letters from the community – both individuals and groups eg school. Parish Council  ESSENTIAL TO SHOW VALUE OF THE CHURCH TO THE COMMUNITY

c)       It is important to move on this as the application takes time

d)      If the application is successful there is a 2 stage development :

i)                    a grant to cover full assessment of needs and proposed action – to point of tender

ii)                   next stage is a capital grant to carry out the work

e)      Mark suggests that IF we are successful we will probably only get 75% of the grant as Clifton will be deemed to be a “financially comfortable community”

f)       This means that we will be responsible for the remaining 25%  ie approx £25 -30,000  !

g)      We need to look at usage of the church apart from services – ideas welcomed!

What next :

a)      A show of hands indicated that virtually all those present supported the next step –ie completing an application to HLF

b)      Requests for letters of support  of the application asked for from Clifton School Headteacher, school governors, Parish Council and individuals present .

c)       Those present asked to share this information with friends /those not able to attend

d)      Notes from meeting to be circulated – via Village Newsletter, Parish Council website and letterbox drop. ( Jackie Nicholson to action)

e)      Churchwardens to begin application process

Other Comments :

a)      PCC recognises that although there is only low turn out to regular church services there is clear evidence of support for the existence of the church in the village  as fund raising events and “special” services are well supported

b)      Whilst PCC accepts its responsibility it cannot be done without support

c)       Reminder that PCC are “ageing” and church needs more support.

If anyone feels that they can write a letter in support of the application please  pass your letter and comments to the Vicar or either of the Churhwardens.  Thank you .

Jackie Nicholson ( on behalf of PCC)



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