Banbury area church launches major development project

Work has begun on an ambitious project to bring much needed upgrades to a Banbury area church.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 4:06 pm
'Building Our Future' project Heating Team for St Mary's church, Bloxham holds regular site meetings in the fresh air. Pictured: Rev. Dale Gingrich, Martin Walsh, Paul Stone (Darnells), Jon Carlton and Joe Dennison (Ingleton Wood) (Submitted photo)

St Mary's Church, Bloxham has launched its ‘Building Our Future’ project, which is a comprehensive, £1m+, three-phase plan to enhance the church with up to date facilities, to make it more welcoming, more practical for the congregation and more useable for the whole community.

The Building Our Future (BOF) is a development project to bring needed internal upgrades to St. Mary’s church, Bloxham. Currently the church is not well heated and lit, has no WCs or kitchen facilities, poor disabled access and many historically important architectural features need specialist restoration. The upgrades are needed to support the growth and sustainability of the parish church and enable the building to become a valuable physical resource for the village community

Phase one is now underway with major renovations to the complex and outdated heating system. With two new condenser boilers replacing the obsolete boiler, the first element of the project also involves new pipe work in the plant room, a new flue and additional radiators throughout the extensive church building. Ingleton Wood, an Oxfordshire-based property and construction consultancy, has designed the modern efficient heating system for the grade I listed church.

St Mary's Church of Bloxham ‘Building Our Future’ project is led by Jon Carlton and Ian Myson pictured with Rev. Dale Gingrich (Submitted photo)

A service of thanksgiving, led by Rev. Dale Gingrich, is planned for late October to celebrate the completion of the new heating system.

Joe Dennison, a senior mechanical engineer at Ingleton Wood who lives in nearby Milcombe, said: “We are very pleased to be designing and co-managing the major renovation project at St Mary’s Church which plays a crucial role in supporting the local community.

"The church will benefit from warmer winters and improved efficiency thanks to the investment in the modern heating system. It will include a smart control system, providing greater control and flexibility over specific areas and replacing the current ‘all on or off’ set-up.

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"We want the new heating to be felt – not seen – and will use our extensive experience in historic building renovation to provide the modern, efficient and eco-friendly heating system that St Mary’s deserves, both now and for generations to come.”

The design is being installed by Darnells Ltd, of Eynsham. With limited space in the Victorian plant room and pressure on building materials nationally, installation has not been without

its challenges.

Paul Stone, project manager for Darnells said: “We installed the current heating system nearly 20 years ago and are delighted to be working with the team at St. Mary’s once again.

"Working on such an historic building brings challenges, of course, such as access to the basement level boiler room and running new services discreetly through the interior. It is also very rewarding, and we are confident that the new heating system will serve the church and the community for many years going forward.”

The new heating system marks a significant milestone for the Building Our Future project.

Jon Carlton, joint lead for the project, said: “After many years of navigating a complex consultation and planning process and the challenges of the pandemic – it has been so rewarding to finally see work underway.

“We are incredibly grateful to those individuals, trusts and former parishioners who have financially supported the first stage of phase one, and look forward to cracking on with fundraising for the next stage - bringing much needed WC’s and kitchen facilities to St. Mary’s, Bloxham."

For more information on the project see its website here: https://www.stmarysbloxham.org.uk/buildingourfuture