Sunday, 15 July 2018

£400,000 annexe planned for church

A PLANNING application has been submitted for a new £400,000 annexe at St Mary’s Church in

A PLANNING application has been submitted for a new £400,000 annexe at St Mary’s Church in Wargrave.

The extension to the Station Road church would provide a meeting place for community groups such as the Women’s Institute, which currently use the nearby Hannen Room.

The design has been agreed by English Heritage and the Oxford diocese and now needs the approval of Wokingham Borough Council.

The church needs to raise £200,000 to complete the first phase of the project, which includes construction, and the same amount for the second phase, which includes installing a power supply, interior work and furnishings.

More than £70,000 has already been raised through the 21st Century Project appeal, with events including a quiz night and talks from local celebrities such as former ITN newsreader Norman Rees.

Part of this money came from the £240,000 previously raised by the appeal with the rest of that being spent on improvements to the church including a new sound system and a creche.

Appeal co-ordinator Bob Austen said: “The work inside the church is done so the next stage is the annexe, which is going to need a major fund-raising project. There’s a lot of work to do and once we have the planning application approved we will kick off the fund-raising.

“We are going to try to get some grants because it’s such a huge amount of money. There will also be appeals to the church community and village like we have done previously.”

The annexe will contain two meeting rooms, a café and toilets and there will be access to the north porch of the church. The mainframe will be built from steel girders and timber for non-load-bearing walls.

It will then be covered in glass- reinforced concrete panels, while the roof will use copper sheeting.

Windows and doors will be made from stained European oak while the north- and west-facing meeting rooms will have full-length glass walls to improve natural lighting inside the building.

The first phase of the project should take four months and if all the money is raised in time, the annexe could be finished inside a year.

A memorial garden will be built between the north porch and the annexe as part of the project.

English Heritage rejected the original plans in 2013 but changed its mind after the church agreed to use timber frames.

A decision by the borough council is expected in November.

Meanwhile, tickets have gone on sale for the annual St Mary’s concert in aid of the 21st Century Project appeal.

This will feature villagers playing a range of musical styles including classical and jazz. They include organist Ben Giddens and a cappella group Apollo5. The concert will end with a rendition of Rule Britannia.

The concert, which is now in its fourth year, will take place on Saturday, November 14 from 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10, which includes a glass of wine. Children go free. There will be drinks and food available on the night.

For more information, send an email to Andy Ferguson at

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