St Mary’s Church - 
Paving & Patio Appeal July 2020

Following a unanimous vote by Thorpe PCC, held via Zoom on Monday 20th July, we have submitted an application for a faculty to complete three aspects of paving work in and around the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Thorpe, to improve safety, drainage and access, and to open up additional use of our outdoor realm:

1. Patio Project – the levelling and surfacing of the area between the Medieval Church, Link and Rurtherwyke / Wallace Room (halls complex) on the south western side of the church, to create a single, safe, non-slip surface for various use and improved accessibility & drainage. This area will act as a spill-out space from the Rutherwyke Room and be essential for events, fundraising, and activities, not least with social distancing requirements. The plan includes drainage improvements and renewal of the soak-away, to help mitigate against sudden / large downpours with a central drainage point and new drainage channel installed around the edge of the patio to prevent run-off towards the buildings. It also provides step-free access directly into the Rutherwyke Room. The existing gravestones (which were moved in the 1980’s to this position when the Rutherwyke Room / Hall was built) are to be relocated within 6 meters, some laid flat again in a remaining gravel area, and some mounted against the west facing Wallace Room wall. The existing edging stones in the raised area will be re-used, and as much of the existing bricks again re-used where possible (probably no more than 40%) in the new configuration with new brickwork chosen to best match the existing village brick pathways. The existing lighting bollard will be retained/repaired/replaced like for like and re-located to the side of the Church.

2. Link Footpath between St Mary’s Tudor brick Tower and St Mary’s gate / TASIS American School Car Park access: we plan to re-surface this walkway with the same village brick, bringing the width, fall and safety of the sloping pathway up to standard. 

3. Churchyard footpath between the boiler house and existing ramp/ south eastern entrance to the Rutherwyke Room (Kitchen door). To rectify an anomaly – the width of this short section of footpath, just 5 meters long, is 2 bricks narrower than all the other sections of path around the Church building and therefore below standard. The plan is to widen this path by two bricks, bringing it up to standard making the path accessible to wheelchairs or a buggy. This path is presently part of our one-way entrance route into St Mary’s as part of our (Covid-secure) re-opening of St Mary’s Church for some said services.

In preparation for this work we held meetings on site in November and March with our Church Architect Mike Staff, RIBA AABC (Architect Accredited in Building Conservation and director of Nye Saunders of 3 Church Street, Godalming, Surrey. GU7 1EQ - Registration number: 7435882). We commissioned a full drainage survey and consulted with Runnymede Borough Council (Andrew Hill - Historic Buildings Consultant) and our neighbours. Aspect 1 & 2 have been drawn up by our church architect, Mike Staff of Nye Saunders and plans are included showing the scheme, along with drainage survey.

27/08 We have received a grant of £250 from the Rowan Bentall Trust - Thank you! Could you help? 

The cost of scope of works (inc VAT) is around £12-14k, which is more then previously planned as we added in additional works to expand the eastern churchyard path by two bricks width, to comply with safety and access regulations, as this is the present entrance to the church and halls during this time of pandemic and social distancing.  

Thorpe PCC put this project on hold in March/May 2020 but in light of present circumstances and having reviewed finance, at our July meeting we agreed this project should be made a priority given the need for social distancing, increased use and positive potential of our churchyard/outdoor realm. Therefore, Thorpe PCC have set aside £5K of the works fund towards the estimated cost. We have applied for a grant towards part of the cost of this work, with a decision due in the late autumn. We would aim to raise any shortfall from the congregation and user groups late this autumn and ideally have the work completed by December 2020, so these facilities can be used for outdoor events over the Christmas period, should social distancing measures still be required. 

St Mary's Church Thorpe 2020 

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© 2020 St Mary's Church, Thorpe.