Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Less easy than I'd thought
Before the repair to the south aisle wall in St Nicolas’ (8 December, 27 December and 1 March) was completed serious questions arose about the state of some of the trees in the churchyard (10 February); a colleague has obtained a detailed report on all the trees and was talking again this morning about the process of quotations, Archdeacon’s approval and consultation with the local authority for varieties of work (the removal of those which have died, important work where there might be a danger, and other recommended work).
Meanwhile, the first complaint of the season about our not doing more to make the churchyard neater has come in (much earlier in the year than usual) so we’ve been back to those who’ve promised to give us a hand with such things to see what else we need to be planning to do.
Still at St Nicolas’, we had a helpful visit last week from the Open Churches Officer from the diocese looking at the plans we have for the development of the building for wider community use (16 February), but the Working Group has not really been able to progress things. First, both Parish Councillor and Ward Councillor elections come up in the next few weeks. Secondly, a group in Great Coates believe that a letter to our MP from the owner of the closed hall in the village saying that it will in due course be on the open market (at a value enhanced by planning permission for conversion into a dwelling) is a generously given opportunity to work for its re-opening. We’ll probably have to sit back and see how these two things work through before picking up the Working Group again.
Down at the Little Coates Community Centre (4 January) we had been hopeful that a newly established community group would take on formal responsibility for it; individual members of the group have done remarkable work getting it open again after the water damage at the beginning of the year and encouraging lettings. However, I’d rather over looked the costs involved in a formal lease (the diocese estimates up to £1 500) so we’re just beginning to look at where that might be found.
St Michael’s, which would be glad to be relieved of the anxieties involved in running this Centre if this could be achieved, is itself about to spend £12 000 or so on remodelling the valley gutter in the church in the hope this will finally eliminate the problem of water coming in there, although having completed all the necessary application and public notice we’ve now waited seven weeks for the diocese to issue the Faculty which would allow us to get started on this.
The window is a memorial to William Cowper in Berkhamsted Parish Church where his father was the Rector.