6. Pew Platforms Project



Prompted by the need to replace rotting floor timbers and an out of date electrical heating system, the PCC decided in 2008 to take the opportunity to make the building more adaptable for modern uses and to deal with the difficult access caused by the two steps down into the church.

Our architect, William Assheton, came up with an innovative plan to cover all the requirements. It involved sloping of the entrance path and porch to remove one step and then construct a platform one step high over the back half of the nave and aisles and provide a second slope from it to the central aisle, thus providing a common step-less route into the church for pedestrians, wheelchairs and buggies.

The platform provides a unified flat floor for furniture to adapt for all sorts of events for babies, children and youths as well as those in wheelchairs and with difficulty in coping with steps. We purchased 70 stackable chairs with trolleys, 10 folding tables and exhibition display panels so we can still arrange maximum seating to meet the full congregations or audiences that gather for some funerals, weddings, concerts and plays as well as for refreshments and exhibitions. At the same time, we renewed the structure of the front pew floors, refitted those pews, replaced the vestry floor, moved the font to a more focal position from where it obstructed the doorway, replaced the electrical heating system and improved the storm drainage around the entrance to the porch.

We raised funds through many local events over several years to undertake this work, but had to divert money when lead was stolen from the roof on two occasions. We received in October 2016 a Faculty to proceed with the work and were delighted to announce in August 2017 that we had received an 'Our Heritage' grant of £79,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to complete the funding.

Work started on Monday, January 15, 2018. All went well until articulated skeletons were found side by side under the porch floor near the surface. These were deemed to be worthy of special analysis and so delayed the work to lower the porch floor by five weeks. Having got the permissions needed, the work started on May 9 again and all the work was completed by May 25.

You can see weekly reports on the progress as it was made by clicking here.  There is also a short series of photos available by clicking here.


May/June 2005 Referred to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC).

May 22, 2009 DAC approve in principle including raised platform area and new gas-fired heating.

August 13, 2010 Seek ‘agreement in principle’ from the DAC for electric heating - agreed, but the raised platform not now acceptable.

July 2011 – first lead theft from north aisle roof.

August 8, 2011 DAC reps visit church.

August 31, 2011 DAC advised against the raised platform at the west end of the church.

October 2, 2011 second theft of lead from north aisle roof.

December 11, 2012 DAC say it would not be advisable to lower the church path and porch floor.

November 5, 2013 DAC visited the church and case put by GP and SHS.

December 11, 2013 DAC accepted a raised floor [again].

May 14, 2014 Need physical inspection of the porch floor and SE buttress by a structural engineer.

October 21, 2014 PCC Minutes formally authorise the approval of the Plans and request application for a faculty.

July 6, 2015, The DAC agreed to issue the Form 2.

August 26, 2015. Faculty Petition despatched to the Chancellor.

November 3, 2015: Chancellor returns petition to DAC: In the light of forceful comments, made without a visit, by CBC and HE, he referred the matter back to the DAC.

October 3, 2016: Chancellor issues a faculty for the work.

April 10, 2017: Four tenders opened. 3 around QS estimated level and one well above.

June 21, 2017: Application made to HLF Our Heritage scheme for a grant.

August 23, 2017: HLF grant of £79,970 awarded.

October 9, 2017: Stone Edge Ltd of Rugeley appointed as main contractor. 

December 30, 2017 & January 7, 2018: Working parties  moved loose items in the Church into the Chancel, into store or to disposal. 

January 15, 2018: The work began!  Services were held in the sheeted-off chancel throughout the work using the small priest's door for access.

April 11, 2018: The inside of the church was completed and handed over. Access to the inside continued to be through the small priest's door in the chancel. The external drainage work was almost completed but the resurfacing awaited the removal of skeletons from the porch for analysis and the completion of the new porch floor.

April 27, 2018: Chancellor issues amendment to faculty to allow excavation and temporary removal from site of skeletons in the porch.

May 9, 2018: The archaeologists return to excavate the skeletons in the porch and to take two away for further analysis before returning them for reburial within three months.

May 25, 2018: The new porch floor completed and the paths repaved.

July 15, 2018: Bishop John of Brixworth blessed the new works.

August 21, 2018: The skeletons and bones disturbed by the works were re-interred in the north of the churchyard in the presence of the Revd Sue Faulkner and the two churchwardens.

May 23, 2019: Architect carries out 12 month defect period inspection.

July 17, 2019: Contractors complete defects.



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