Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Building diplomacy


Met this afternoon with our church architect, Martin Killick and an officer from CADW, the Welsh conservation quango. The idea was to find out where the no-go areas might be in proposing changes to certain aspects of our grade one listed building.

We want to make the building more visitor friendly, as it is one of the place most visited by tourists to Cardiff - at least 15,000 a year. The west porch doesn't work. It is uninviting, difficult to negotiate with a pushchairs or laden with bags, and has an internal which step people trip over with worrying frequency due to poor sight lines rather than lighting deficiency. We want to remove the porch and have state of the art glass doors and glazed panels under the tower, to make it all lighter more open and inviting. We also dream of moving pews to side aisles from the back of the nave, then raise the floor to lose the dangerous step, and create a welcome area in which we can hold exhibitions, and greet people before services - maybe even an information desk, who knows what may work best for all, at this stage?

The south church entrance is paved with gravestones, and would benefit from being re-laid with a single consistent regular surface, as it becomes uneven in only a few years of wear and tear, as the stones are all of different thickness. How we haven't had a bad accident out there I don't know. Very soon now the passageway between the churchyards will be laid with new granite paving which eventually will cover streets on all sides of the church. I am hoping we will be able to replace the gravestones with the same paving. The surrounds would all look good then - a worthy setting for such a fine building.

Fortunately the CADW man didn't seem to think any of our ideas run contrary to the received conservation doctrine, so it's now a matter of drawing up plans and preparing more faculty applications to get permission to do the work. Knowing that support from CADW is possible to obtain for sensible plans easer the way to get a faculty approved. The number of such faculties I've applied for in the past four years runs into dozens. It's not a task I'll ever enjoy, only improve at doing well.

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