St John the Evangelist Church, Farsley
Conservation and Development Plan
Revision, August 2006
The Need for Conservation and Development
In order to continue our mission and service in the community the PCC has a duty to maintain the Church, the hall and their environs. This duty is fully discharged by the PCC in terms of ongoing, routine and major maintenance. Leeds City Council assists us by maintaining trees and by maintaining the churchyard. There are other requirements, however, and these fall under five headings.
The PCC must reduce risk to users by ensuring that all aspects of the buildings and grounds are regularly inspected, potential hazards identified and timely and appropriate remedies implemented. In 2005, two safety projects were completed.
The steps and step well leading to St John’s Avenue have been rebuilt and pedestrian handrails installed.
Photo-reactive lighting, mounted on the Church tower now illuminates the path and steps linking the porch with Town Street. Photo-reactive lighting has also been installed in the porch.
In 2006, the following safety improvements have been possible.
Following a survey of the electricity supply within the Church, the resulting recommendations have been carried out. The cellar lighting improvements have been made and power circuits are now up to IEE standards.
A further two safety issues will be addressed by the end of the year.
The Church clock and bell have to be rewound weekly and the clock pendulum required frequent adjustment. The clock and bell chime mechanisms together require some 200 turns of a winding crank. Access is difficult; a flight of stone steps leading to the gallery is followed by a steep flight of wooden steps to a trap door and a further ladder leads through another trap door to the clock and the winding gear. Cost estimates for electrically powered winding mechanisms and an automatic compensating pendulum were obtained in 2005 and further cost estimates were obtained in 2006 for a pendulum arrester, this installation would retain the original mechanical clock mechanism.
The boundary wall adjacent to new street is showing signs of wear and tear and a quotation for demolishing and rebuilding the wall was obtained in 2005. However, following architectural advice the suggestion is to lower the wall to 4 or 5 courses (level with the soil on the car park side) and reuse the copingstones.
Two further identified safety issues will remain:
The edge of the footpath along the south side of the Church intrudes upon the instinctive route for pedestrians and several manhole covers are not flush with surrounding surfaces. The footpath will be realigned and manhole covers within the path and near the hall door will be levelled.
The stone flags forming the floor of the inner porch are showing signs of wear. The flags will be investigated to determine whether they could be turned. If so, such work will be commissioned. If this approach is not practical, designs and cost estimates for asympathetic re-flooring scheme will be sought. Although the flags are old, they are not original to the Church.
Compliance with legal requirements
The PCC must comply with all legal requirements and government directives. Of particular concern here is the Disabilities Discrimination Act 1995.
Fundraising and grants to date have enabled compliance with one key requirement of the Act in 2005. The ladies toilet in the hall has been enlarged and re-equipped to enable additional access for by people using wheelchairs.
In 2006, it is anticipated that the following compliance issues will be completed.
Access arrangements for the hall do not fully comply with the Act. Having considered a ramp giving access to the front entrance it was decided that a better position for a ramp would be the main door of the former vicarage, as this would give access to the offices and flea market without having to pass through the hall. At the same time, the car park will be extended. This has been designed and costed and a planning application is in.
Clergy vestry door opening not easily negotiated by a wheelchair. Need to modify opening by re hanging door and moving electrics.
Three compliance issues remain:
Acoustic facilities in the hall are non-compliant. A sound loop has been designed and a quotation for the work has been obtained together with detailed specifications.
Access to the memorial garden is difficult by wheelchair. A continuous path along the north side of the Church will be constructed. A budget estimate has been made.
Access to the Chancel is non-compliant. Although no firm plans have been produced or agreed for re-ordering of the chancel, any such plans will include provision for equal access.
Heritage conservation and appropriate restoration
The PCC is the custodian of the Church building and graveyard which are important elements of local heritage. Two significant restoration projects have been completed since the Plan was drawn up.
The original entrance to the nave had been modified unsympathetically over the years; the original arch remained, albeit concealed by the modifications. The entrance has now been restored.
During restoration of the original arch, a new door was installed. It has glass panels engraved with the Southern Cross constellation thereby recalling Farsley’s association with the Reverend Samuel Marsden and the establishment of the woollen trade in the West Riding of Yorkshire based on Australian wool. The door allows the inner porch area to be seen from the nave and permits those entering the Church to see into it. The project is of heritage, educational and security value.
Nevertheless, there are other important conservation and restoration issues to address.
A condition survey of the 19th century stained glass windows in the nave and chancel has identified that 11 of the 13 windows have bowed panels and are in need of restoration. Such treatment has been given to three of the windows. Due to the cost of restoration, the work on the remaining windows has been stopped for the foreseeable future.
The existing lighting within the nave is inappropriate for the building. In particular, the quality timber ceiling and timber structural elements are not easy to observe and go unnoticed. As the Church may be in need of rewiring in two to three years time, the opportunity should then be taken to replace the lighting within the nave and chancel and to incorporate specialist lighting to enhance the visibility of the timber ceiling and the altar painting. A quotation for upgrading the lighting within the nave, chancel and area under the balcony has now been obtained.
The current layout of the chancel does not allow full participation and equal access. It also limits the scope for varying the form of worship. The PCC will consider plans for the re-ordering of the chancel and will seek to include in this the re-location of the original font to a position adjacent to the chancel. The font is presently unused and stands largely unnoticed in a corner at the back of the nave.
The tower has four unusually large clock dials and a flagpole, which were designed to be visible from all parts of the village. The St George flag is now absent but the clock is still highly visible from the central, older quarter of the now larger urban area: modern street lighting impairs its prominence at night. It is intended to up-light the Church clock externally and to reinstate the St George flag
Education and children
A derelict outbuilding has recently been refurbished to provide easily accessible storage for equipment and toys related to children’s activities.
Identified further education issues listed below.
There is a need for space within the Church for children’s activities and worship during part of services. The presently underused choir vestry will be refurbished appropriately for both current usage and for children’s activities and worship.
Teaching aids are required for education concerned our heritage. The new door to the nave (see above) is clearly a teaching aid and others are being considered.
Modernisation and enhancement
The PCC seeks to modernise facilities appropriately in order to enhance the stature of the Church building as a local landmark, address current trends in community usage of facilities and support both traditional and modern forms of worship.
To date it has been possible to realise three projects of this nature.
The front choir pews have been raised to provide seating that is more comfortable.
A permanent plaque relating to the memorial garden has been installed on the external west wall of the transept.
The church office has been modernised in order that the daily operations of the church activities can be managed more efficiently. This has resulted in a computer and photocopier being acquired and a part time assistant being brought in.
Currently being recommended to the PCC in September 2006:
The acoustic equipment in the Church does not fully support modern forms of worship. There is a need to provide accompaniment to singing when the organist and/or other musicians are unavailable and different forms of music are often required. The existing sound control equipment will be relocated further to the rear of the nave and will be enhanced to include an automatic compact disk track selector. A radio-microphone will replace the present mobile microphone with extension cable and will be controlled by infra-red sensor from the console.
Other issues concerning modernisation remain.
The kitchen in the hall is in need of refurbishment and places some limitations on full potential usage of the hall by the community. Improvements to the hall kitchen will include plastering and redecorating together with the replacement of existing worktops and installation of modern catering equipment.
The Bibles will shortly require replacement. New Bibles will be purchased and a budget figure has been estimated.
The boiler currently is larger than required and running costs would be reduced if this were replaced.
Major maintenance of buildings
It is important to remember that the Conservation and Development Plan is not only about projects involving construction, it also concerns major maintenance. The PCC must respond to the items of major maintenance identified following quinquennial inspections and others.
In this regardregular giving and fund-raising have recently enabled essential re-pointing work to be completed and a generous donation has allowed monitoring of potential structural cracking.
The north walls of the nave and transept have been re-pointed as the second stage of a three-stage programme of re-pointing as required following the most recent quinquennial inspection.
Five tell-tales have been installed in the chancel to identify the nature and activity of cracking. Monitoring after six months after installation indicated no perceived further movement and a further inspection would take place in spring 2006.
In 2006, the third stage of re-pointing was completed.