New Building

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In 2008 mains water was installed, our first step towards the provision of much needed toilet facilities in the Church for children and adults. The proposed building would provide for this, together with a meeting room, a kitchen and necessary additional storage space.
The meeting room would provide a space for young children during services giving families the chance to belong and contribute to church life; enable the congregation to meet informally after services for tea and coffee with newcomers and visitors and allow small groups to meet in a beautiful environment.
Some may not use the church very often – maybe not at all. But this historic Grade 1 listed church has stood in Apuldram for around 900 years and it is an important part of the village scene, making an impressive and attractive contribution to our landscape. Apuldram without its church just wouldn’t be Apuldram.
The meeting room and its facilities would be available for community use and to the many visitors who contribute to the upkeep of the church. It would allow more events to be held at the church and would be a practical way to ensure that St Mary’s remained an open church and not a redundant church.
Above all, the meeting room and its facilities would be available to the wider community, in particular as a Heritage Centre. Being situated in an Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) we have many visitors to our historic church. We plan to create opportunities for these visitors, for the community and for local schools to learn about the heritage of the area. Working with the Education Centre of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy we plan to promote and hold heritage exhibitions, arrange and run sessions for visiting schoolchildren and create and promote a heritage trail. The Chichester Museum has agreed to loan items of local social and historical interest to support these events. Local historians would be invited to give talks and run local history workshops.
Copies of St Mary’s church records would be held at the Centre for research into family and local history. Our aim is to help present and future generations to appreciate and therefore conserve their heritage in this historic area.

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Report following the open meeting of 9 September 2008
The Proposed Church Building was discussed at the meeting on Tuesday 9 September, held at St Mary’s. The parishioners enjoyed a glass of wine while Clive Ashley welcomed them to the meeting and explained the reasons for the much needed new building. Douglas Briggs, the church architect, said that the plans, which had been prepared in conjunction with the sub-committee, would benefit not only the parishioners but also the community, and would ensure that St Mary’s remained an open church.
It became clear as a result of suggestions from the floor that the plans needed some amendments, and these will be incorporated prior to applying for Planning permission to Chichester District Council at the end of the year.
It was estimated that the project will cost about £100,000, and Graham Pound explained that it was planned to set up a charity, Friends of St Mary’s Church, Apuldram, to raise funds for the building and also to offer support in other ways. A letter had been sent to Apuldram Parish asking for a grant towards the project, and once the plans were approved numerous other sources of funds would be explored. Graham said that he would welcome any suggestions as to sources of funding.

Apuldram Parish Meeting 27 November 2008
Following discussion at the Parish Meeting it was agreed that a letter should be circulated to all residents of Apuldram asking whether they considered the Apuldram Parish Meeting should agree to support the proposed building.

January 2009
Following the consultation the majority of residents were in favour of supporting the proposed building and the Parish Meeting will in due course make a limited grant towards the proposed building in order to assist the fund raising from outside sources. In the meantime the Architects are looking at the possible need for an arboreal survey prior to submitting the agreed plans to the Council for Planning permission. Obtaining permission is likely to take about three months and then approval will be sought from the Diocesan Advisory Committee.

April 2009
In order to ensure that building work would not damage the root system of a lime tree, an arboreal survey has been carried out. Some pruning is required, after which plans will be submitted to Chichester District Council.

September 2009
Prior to lodging the application for Planning Consent with Chichester District Countil, the architects have submitted pre-application enquiries with Chichester Harbour Conservancy, WSCC Hightways, Chichester District Council and English Heritage. Once responses from these third parties have been received and any issues “ironed-out” planning consent will be applied for.

December 2009
At the end of the month the application for the building was lodged by the architects with Chichester District Council. A decision is expected to be reached within 8 weeks.

December 2010
In the spring planning permission was granted by Chichester District Council. Following this, work started on sourcing funding for the project, at the same time as finalising details for the setting up of The Friends of St Mary’s.

December 2011
The Friends was launched in March this year for the purpose of raising the £200,000 needed for the new facilities at St Mary’s with a very enjoyable Baroque concert.

September 2014
A report by the Treasurer on St Mary’s Apuldram Community Building Project.
The new building will provide a meeting room, accessible toilet and kitchen facilities to provide a community building for use by all. Our church, idyllic in presence and serving the parish for 900 years, needs desperately to be modernised. Our vision is to have ameeting venue to serve the whole area of Apuldram, for example, for youth groups, parish meetings, charity AGMs, tea and coffee groups or lunch clubs for elderly residents. Interest has been expressed by local Yoga and Weightwatchers groups. It will also be suitable for use as a retreat. Toilet and kitchen facilities will provide the basic amenities needed for regular church services, events and weddings for the comfort of our guests, including the disabled.
I am pleased to say that as a result of our fundraising activities we have now raised half the estimated £200,000 cost of the new building at St Mary’s. However, several of the funders have said that they will reconsider our funding applications when certain targets have been reached. There is clearly still a long way to go to raise the balance of £100,000 but in order to reach these targets and raise the balance the PCC has instructed our architects to undertake the detailed structural design and drawings in order to apply for Building Regulations approval from Chichester District Council. When Buildings Regulations are approved the next step will be to prepare the necessary tender information and, once complete, to apply to the Diocesan Advisory Committee to obtain our faculty (formal permission from the Diocese to proceed with the building). We expect to receive tender information from contractors within about a month which will enable us to select a builder and, on receipt of the faculty, to start work on the new facilities.
We have, therefore, reached a key milestone in the project and the task now facing the Friends of St Mary’s is to raise the balance of the funding. We will of course be re-applying to the Trusts mentioned above but also encouraging more local giving, seeking funding from sources within the community, and making new applications to grant-making Trusts so that we can bring this exciting project to fruition.

July 2015
The detailed structural design for the new facilities has been completed and formal Building Regulations approval has been received. Following the recommendation by the Diocesan Advisory Committee the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Chichester has issued the Faculty, which means that we now have all the necessary permissions to proceed with the building of the new facilities at the Church.

April 2016
The long path to the church from the car park had been an on-going problem for many years for churchgoers and walkers alike.  Tree roots not only made the path uneven but caused flooding at times of heavy rainfall. With grants from Chichester Harbour Conservancy, CDC (New homes bonus) and WSCC  the path was levelled and resurfaced and drainage channels dug on either side to prevent flooding

July 2016
We received an extremely generous gift of a strip of land running alongside the path to the church  from Linda Clark in memory of her husband, Robert, who was for over 40 years the village blacksmith.
This land will be used for car parking for church and occasional events and for those using the new community meeting room. This will make a tremendous difference to those attending church, reducing the distance from the current parking area of 120 yards to some 15 yards thus enabling those with mobility problems  to attend church for the first time in ages and enjoy once again their grade 1 listed historic church.

March 2017
The architects have now selected Lucking Bros. from Petworth as the preferred contractor. With the award of the LEADER Rural Development Programme grant of £40,572, together with other generous donations and pledges we have now raised over 90% of the required funding. We have outstanding applications for the balance of funds and subject to the successful applications for the balance of funding, the PCC has agreed to start the project.
We must complete the new building work by January 2018 as some £27,000 of funding will expire in that month if not used. We will continue to work with Action in Rural Sussex(AiRS) to raise the balance of funds and also to prepare the necessary policies and procedures required by legislation for using the new meeting room.

October 2017
With the help of the small grant from the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All (BLFA4A) we received full planning permission from CDC in June for the new car park on the gift of land from Linda Clark. We would like to thank all those who sent letters of support to the Planning authorities.
We have just been advised of the excellent news that we have received a further grant from BLFA4A for £8,000 which will enable us to complete the public access facilities from the car park to the church.
Regarding the new building, we encountered several problems during the summer with the piling for the foundations of the new extension, which meant that we had to drill a pilot hole to ascertain the required depth of the piles. We also encountered problems with additional tree roots and the access path across the churchyard for the heavy plant required for the foundations. These points have now been resolved, but delayed the start of the works.  We are still awaiting the outcome of our applications for funding to complete the project, but we have agreed we must start work to avoid losing the £27,000 of funding which expires in January 2018. We would like to thank Matt Sawday for agreeing to cut the grass in the car park so that the project can start. Following meetings with the builder, he has said that he will start the works on 9 October 2017.
We are planning to take photographs during the project so that we will have a photographic record which can be shown on completion.

November 2017
The fence between the land gifted for the car park and the stables has been installed and the builder has removed top soil the full length of the car park and filled it with hard core to provide the firm base  for the builders vehicles and  rig.

The access path from the car park across the churchyard to the rear of the church has been established and the tombstones where the extension will be have been moved to the edge of the churchyard.

Left: The start of the piling in mid November

St Mary the Virgin Apuldram is extremely pleased to have received a £20,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant towards our new extension. This will make all the difference in the world towards fulfilling our vision of providing a venue for bringing the community together, building social contacts and achieving our aims and objectives as laid out at the start of this page.
The Reverend Canon Moira Wickens said: “This is a very exciting time for all the parishioners and the wider community who are looking forward to the future.”

On Sunday 26 November, a lovely frosty morning, the Church community gathered together to make the new build come to life. The Revd Canon Moira Wickens dug the symbolic first sod, assisted by young members of the congregation.

January 2018
By early December the footings had been dug and in January, after the Christmas break, work is progressing.

18 February 2018
Winter weather slows down work but progress is maintained

March 2018
Graham Pound joined Sarah Hughes, Community Wildlife Officer, Chichester District Council, and Keith Rathbone, Lead Ranger, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, to clear a large area of brambles and rubbish adjacent to the entrance to the path across the churchyard from the new car park. The photo shows the results of their efforts.
The Harbour Conservancy has also confirmed that they have included the planting of the new hedging to the rear of the church in their winter programme. This will be on the churchyard boundary and will complement the new extension. Graham wishes to express his sincere thanks to Sarah and Keith for their help and support, as it has made a significant impact towards tidying up that area, and also for their commitment of ongoing help with this project in the future.

22 April 2018
The walls are going up, faced with flint. Painstaking and skilful work, beautifully executed.June 2018
Apuldram on the Old Pilgrimage route to Canterbury

There is already considerable local interest in using our new extension when it is completed. The Heritage Lottery fund has indicated it would support a one year pilot project to establish a heritage trail in conjunction with the Harbour Conservancy.
One of the most exciting proposals comes from the British Pilgrimage Trust, a charity that is working towards re-opening an ancient pilgrimage route from Southampton to Canterbury that was found on a 14th century map by its co-founder, self-described author and wandering minstrel Will Parsons.
“On the 14th century map, this route runs in a straight line from Havant to Chichester to Arundel. But as you can imagine, we are not keen to follow tarmac and rushing cars. Modern pilgrims seek instead quietness, natural beauty, and a sense of journeying through ancient undisturbed Britain,” he writes. “As such, Apuldram is incredibly appealing to us. The old places, undisturbed by the rush of modernity, are where people increasingly seek the peace that modernity so carelessly strips away.”
The Trust would like to discuss including Apuldram on the new route. ” I should be clear, we are not a religious organisation per se, but neither are we a non-religious organisation,” Will continues. “We are attempting to re-open pilgrimage by bypassing the Tudor taboo, the religious identity issue that resonates so thornily even today.
But obviously, the spiritual landscape of Britain, built and natural, is where we seek to send pilgrims. So churches like St Marys are crucial landmarks for our work, which we encourage all pilgrims to enter and respect as holy places, whatever their personal religious beliefs. It is, you might say, the soft sell – getting people into churches without requiring a prescriptive belief. So far, it seems to work.”
Will sees an opportunity for  pilgrim accommodation in the new hall, with pilgrims having supper in the Crown and Anchor and in the morning continuing  to Chichester cathedral.
“I do hope this idea meets you in the best possible spirit, and excites you as it does us! The benefits, in terms of economic rejuvenation of rural communities and churches, are obvious. Based on a (speculative) model of £20 per pilgrim per night, even with only 50 pilgrims per week for half the year, this scheme could generate £26,000 per year for St Mary’s! We believe that pilgrimage, in this ‘Open to All’ format, offers the lifeline that Britain’s churches require – and it looks as though your hard work toward creating a new church building has lain all the infrastructural groundwork we could possibly dream of ,” Will says.
“Groups of pilgrims would arrive in the early evening, sleep on the floor of the new building, and would leave for Chichester cathedral the next morning. They would require the use of the toilet and kitchen facilities for which they would make a small payment. This would be of considerable benefit to St Mary’s, giving another income stream for the church, thus strengthening its financial viability and benefitting the local area, and of course Chichester. We feel that this is an excellent use of this new venue by the pilgrims who will be undertaking a very enjoyable and healthy pastime in a lovely part of Sussex.”
Being a project that would use the venue overnight, it would not affect the daytime activities we have already planned, but we would need to raise additional funding for a part-time person to handle the administration and bookings, together with a computer and printer, additional insurance, a business telephone line and of course cleaning when the pilgrims have left.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is allocating about £330,000 for community projects in response to a crowdfunding initiative to gauge public support, using a site called Spacehive.
We set the crowdfunding project to last for 60 days and are delighted to report that we have reached our target, amounting to approximately £8,200.
Graham Pound, PCC treasurer

August 2018
Work has continued well throught the summer months. The roof is ready to be tiled and a lot of internal work has been carried out.  The electrical wiring is all in place and the plasterers are currently hard at work. The church vestry has been cleared in preparation for breaking through once the new building is secured.

September 2018
The roof on the building is now tiled and the scaffolding has been removed, giving a clearer picture of the exterior. The north wall has been rendered and the plasterers are hard at work on the interior walls. After landscaping, due to be carried out soon, the building will sit more comfortably into its setting. Windows and doors are still awaited…. Meanwhile there are many decisions to be made on the flooring, the kitchen, the WC and all the innumerable minutiae of a new build. And, of course, Graham continues to work immensely hard at raising funds to complete the project.

November 2018
The windows were finally fitted in the middle of this month, enabling work on completing the building to move ahead.  The plasterers have finished and the decorators are busy.  Once they finish the flooring starts to go down, the kitchen and WC units will be installed and we move towards buying furniture and kitchen appliances. And, of course, putting away all those items currently stored in boxes around the church and restoring order once again.
A joyful Songs of Praise and Gift Day was held at the beginning of the month when the retired Dean of Chichester, the Rt Revd Nicholas Frayling, came to play the organ. The financial generosity of those within and outside the parish will greatly assist the final stages of completion.
The car park has been gravelled and is now in use – a wonderful asset.

After the Laying up of Boats service on 18th November a member of the DQSC took this lovely photo of the church from the west with the new building already looking well settled in alongside.

January 2019
The kitchen is installed, the flooring is down and Eddie Gadd has not only given up his weekends to plumb in the WC but also take these photographs:

Sunday 14 April 2019

saw the culmination of many years of effort when Moira cut the ribbon at the official opening of the St Mary’s Meeting Room. She said what a joyful day it was when this valuable asset could be formally opened. She emphasised how, when others faltered at the magnitude of the task, Graham had driven the project forward with determination, vision and skill – and what a result! Joining Moira was The Very Revd Nicholas Frayling who blessed the new building with a prayer and a scattering of holy water. Nicholas, some years back, had agreed to be Patron of the Friends of St Mary’s on the understanding that he could have the first flush. With great ceremony he cut the ribbon to the WC and performed the first symbolic flush to much applause.  People stayed on for a soup lunch or refreshments with donations (amounting to £270) going to Chestnut Tree House.  Amongst the guests were Martyn Bell, Mayor of Chichester, Councillors John Ridd and Penny Plant, Louise Beaton, Community Halls Consultant and Douglas Briggs, architect.