All Saints Churchyard Wall
Update - August 2009
The repair work is now complete.
Update - July 2009
The Council's application for grant aid from Awards for All has been rejected and therefore the Council has decided that the shortfall will be met from reserves. The good news is that the repair work started on Monday 6th July and is planned to take 5 weeks. Temporary traffic lights will be in operation for part of this time to protect the workforce.
Update - March 2009
Council Clerk Helen Hoier has been advised that we have been succesful in our grant application to The Cory Environmental Trust in East Northamptonshire . They will donate £3000, bringing the total committed so far to £4500. We expect a response from Awards for All in the near future and as we are now close to our target we have asked the chosen contractor to be on stand-by.
Update - February 2009.
The Parish Council has now received the Faculty from the Peterborough Diocesan Chancellor giving permission for the repair work to go ahead according to the specification drawn up by Bruce Deacon Architect Ltd. The lowest of three tenders has been selected and the contractor is "on stand-by". As soon as funding is in place we will ask that the work begins. The work has been divided into four sections (see below) with a total cost of approximately £9,250 excluding VAT, but including professional fees. The Parish Council has already obtained grants totalling £1,500 from Northants County Council and The John Warren Foundation. We are hopeful of further assistance from Awards for All (A Lottery grants scheme) and The Cory Environmental Trust in East Northamptonshire. If we are successful in our applications to these organisations then we should be able to go ahead with all four stages of the work sometime during Spring 2009.
The part of All Saints churchyard immediately surrounding the church has been declared “closed”. There is no room for more burials in this area. There is a section of churchyard to the rear of the church which remains open for burials. The Local Government Act of 1972 requires that where a churchyard has been closed by an Order in Council, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) shall maintain it by keeping it in decent order and its walls and fences in good repair. A PCC may transfer responsibility for maintenance of the churchyard to the Parish Council. In 1997 responsibility for maintaining the closed churchyard passed from the PPC to Great Addington Parish Council (GAPC).
The transfer of responsibility for closed churchyards to local authorities was not intended to confer any privilege upon the Church of England. It was recognised that until the 19th Century Burial Acts , churchyards were often the only burial places available and were (as they still are) the common burial places of the parishioners of any denomination and none. As the churchyard was available for the whole community, and had sometimes been provided by means of a compulsory church rate, it was considered reasonable that when it was closed in the interest of the community, the expense of keeping it in decent order should be reimbursed to the churchwardens.
GAPC's responsibilities include maintenance of the churchyard wall. It has been obvious for some time that the wall has bulged and would need attention in due course. During the summer of 2007 the contractor who mows the churchyard grass noticed that a gap had opened up behind the wall along Cranford Road, indicating possible recent movement of the wall due to the pressure of the retained earth. GAPC felt that, in addition to considering a simple repair, we should explore the possibility of rebuilding the wall further back into the churchyard so that the extremely narrow footpath on Cranford Road could be widened.
We have held discussions with representatives of the Chancellor of Peterborough Diocese, Northants County Council Highways Dept and the church architect. Three significant points have been established:-
- Merely to repair the existing wall will stretch GAPC's existing financial resources. To re-build the wall on a new base would be more expensive. Any additional costs would need to be funded externally.
- To move the base of the wall would be contentious because the churchyard is considered to be a medieval burial ground with potential archaeological value. Before granting permission the Diocese would require a detailed archaeological involvement at GAPC's expense.
- That the alternative of narrowing the roadway to allow widening of the path is neither technically nor economically feasible.
As a result GAPC have commissioned an architect to write specifications and obtain tenders for repairing the wall on its existing base. The architect has surveyed the entire wall on both Cranford and Woodford Roads. It has been divided into sections according to the degree of repair needed. The scope of work includes rebuilding on the existing base or re-pointing, as appropriate. Tenders have been obtained from three contractors with experience of similar projects and the lowest cost tender has been identified.
GAPC have applied to the Chancellor of Peterborough Diocese (through the Diocesan Advisory Committee) for a Faculty to allow the repair work to proceed and a decision is expected before the end of 2008.
Anglican churches in use are exempt from the requirement for Listed Building Consent, because of the control which the Church of England exercises through the Faculty Jurisdiction.
Since taking responsibility for the closed churchyard GAPC has built a small reserve fund to cover such work. This reserve will not meet the full cost. The Council is therefore in the process of seeking financial support from Local Government, charities etc. Depending on the success of these appeals the work will be undertaken in one or more phases.
This page will be updated as and when required