Our church grounds are in a poor state of repair and we want to improve them for our current church hall users, our congregation and all those who we wish to attract to events and services in our buildings. We need our grounds to
reflect the warmth and welcome of the inside of our building and the congregation who worship there.
Although our grounds are not public rights of way, they are used by many residents as well as Hall users and the congregation. For example, we have been delighted by the use of our car park during the pandemic by local families. However, our insurers and the Newcastle diocese have identified real dangers of the uneven pathways and broken paving stones and we are required to take action.
When thinking about our grounds we talked to different users and the following key ideas are part of this proposed design:
Welcoming and clear entrances to the grounds
Spaces for play and re-creation
Sustainable, bio-diverse planting
Single level accessibility for pushchairs, wheelchair users etc.
Ease of maintenance
Our Church Council want to combine safety upgrading with appropriate improvements to our footpaths and grounds to make St Marys a more inviting, accessible and welcoming place.
THE PROCESS SO FAR
We contacted landscape architects and met with three different firms to discuss our ideas about what we want and need. We have selected one firm as a preferred partner on the basis of their local knowledge, experience and expertise as well as the level of attention and empathy with our ideas and needs. In March 2019 we distributed an initial sketch idea for consultation with the congregation, local residents and hall users. The car park was resurfaced in January 2020.
The pandemic has since delayed this process but we now have a more detailed design to move to the next stage.
THE LATEST DESIGN
You are invited to view the latest designs which you will see below. The images are best viewed on a desktop device, but are still accessible on tablets and mobile phones. Click on the large image to enter fullscreen mode.
YOUR VIEWS ARE WELCOME
Small details, even things not apparent on the drawing, could make a big difference so we welcome your observations and ideas now, before we move to the final plan.
Your comments will be taken into account with our Landscape Architect, consulting with Newcastle Diocese buildings advisory group, and then drawing up final plans for approval by the church council (PCC). These will then go out to tender to building firms for quotations. The PCC will then, if appropriate, give final approval to commence building works. We will be applying for grants to help cover costs.
We look forward to hearing your views.
The Working Group is composed of Roger Windass, Cheryl Savage, Richard Hart and our Vicar, Revd Canon Rachel Wood, who are all happy to talk about any aspect of this proposal.
To comment by email, please click on the "Feedback" button below, or you can write to St Mary’s Church, Claremont Gardens, Whitley Bay, NE26 3SF
We welcome feedback until Friday 7th May 2021.