Phase One is now complete, and has provided a much-needed accessible toilet and new servery facilities, opening up the rear of the Nave to create a 75sq metres space with an Ancaster stone floor. The toilet is concealed in its own oak panelled room in the northwest corner, with the servery area, in matching oak, located in the south west corner. The font remains in its current location close to the main entrance door. Some pews have been removed, and all affected monuments relocated.
Design services for Phase One were provided by Graham Cook (Architect). The building works were carried out by Paul Mendham Stonemasons Limited.
Phase Two works are now being further developed. The enlarged section of the drawing left shows more detail of the proposed meeting room on the ground floor of the church tower, with the stairs up to the boiler room and additional storage on the mezzanine first floor (removed for visibility). Above this mezzanine floor is the current bell-ringers floor, which will remain unchanged.
The step up into the tower room (shown in the drawing) is now unnecessary and the whole space will be on the level, facilitating the best possible disabled access. There is also level (or slightly sloping) access from the tower room directly to the outside, through a doorway already present in the wall of the tower.
How the Project Began
Over the past few years Hough on the Hill and its surrounding settlements have experienced a progressive loss of community space where local people can meet and hold social events. Our historic church of All Saints is now the only remaining community facility. Our area is in the top 10% of the most deprived areas in the country for ‘access to services’. There are no bus services, nor is there a school, shop, post office, or even a mobile library, and there is no public meeting place. None of the approach roads to Hough on the Hill, or Gelston, or any of the neighbouring hamlets or outlying homes are gritted, making it difficult for people to use other village halls in winter.
In 2000, the Parochial Church Council began to explore ideas for converting parts of the church to create more accessible and useable space for community access. This was a challenging proposal. All Saints Church is Grade 1 listed (notable for its famous Saxon Tower), and so much care has been needed in the design approach. There have been extensive consultations with English Heritage, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Archbishops Council, Victorian Society and Natural England.
Over 6000 people living in the Inner and Outer Catchment areas would be within easy reach of the facility, and the project has attracted a great deal of community interest and support from local people who would not normally attend church services.
In 2007 a comprehensive community survey was carried out. The results indicated widespread support for the project, and suggested that as many as 900 ‘different’ people may enter the Church each year when the Community Project is complete.
Michael Kennedy (WREN) with Michael Blades
The total cost of the first phase of works was approximately £80,000 funded by:
- £40,000 awarded by WREN (from funds donated by the Waste Recycling Group through the Landfill Communities Fund)
- a generous £15,000 donation from Peregrine Cust, a member of the Brownlow family
- £15,000 in grants from Lincoln County Council/South Kesteven District Council
- £5,000 from the Parochial Church Council
- £5,000 from the Hough Village Hall Fund
The cost of Phase 2 of the project is currently estimated as £156K. Phase 2 covers work in the Tower and includes the provision of level access into the base of the Tower where a Meeting Room of 25sq mtrs will be formed which will be warm, clean, dry and well-lit. A new energy efficient boiler will also be installed.