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Henley parish church undergoes repairs
Published 10/08/14

REPAIRS are being carried out at Henley's parish church at a cost of £45,000.

Worn roof tiles at St Mary's in Hart Street are being replaced in the first phase of work, which is being carried out by Wallingford builders Boshers. It should be completed by the end of the month.

The church underwent an inspection last year which found some tiles needed replacing as well as some other work. Rev Canon Martyn Griffiths, the rector of St Mary's, said the repairs were relatively "minor".

He said: "There are lots of little things that need to be done but there is nothing major wrong. All of them need to be dealt with before they become big things.

"For instance, there is a flat roof at the west end of the main door on the Hart Street side which is being completely stripped back and the slates replaced. After time the slates just disintegrate."

The money for phase one was raised by members of the congregation and residents.

Phase two of the repairs will include some more substantial work and will probably be carried out next year.

Rev Griffiths said: "For example, the side of the roof that faces the churchyard and Chantry House needs to be done.

"After 150 years, the tiles are starting to slip. The tiles themselves are fine but they are fixed with wooden pegs and they start to contract and rot and so they need replacing."

Wallingford architect John Radice, who carried out the inspection, reported that some of the repairs were "urgent", meaning they should be carried out within a year at the most while others should be completed within five years.

English Heritage has to approve the work. Rev Griffiths added: "The sooner we do the work the cheaper it is to do because we haven't allowed it to deteriorate any more."

Meanwhile, rusty corrugated metal sheets surrounding the scaffolding outside the church have been replaced following criticism.

In a letter in last week's Henley Standard, Pat Doyle, from Sonning, said the cladding was a "truly horrible sight" and a poster promoting this weekend's Hideaway Festival at Fawley on it was "tacky".

Tom Bosher, director of Boshers, apologised for the state of the old sheeting. He said: "I agree that it didn't look neat and tidy or professional and in hindsight it was not a good idea. When the sheets were put in they were not rusty — I think that was down to the elements.

"We were not asked to put up painted hoarding and it is standard practice to use tin sheets, which was agreed with the reverend, the architect and churchwarden. We have now installed Monarflex [plastic] sheeting."

Mr Bosher said the Hideaway Festival poster was put up without permission and had been removed.

• In February 2010, an appeal was launched to raise £100,000 to safeguard the upkeep of the St Mary's with a new roof, drainage system, lighting and flooring. It was hoped to raise the money within five years.

Published 10/08/14

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