Friday, 7 November 2014

Plans for Extension to Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry

     The revised plan for an extension to Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry have now been placed on the Parish website.
The plan is still quite drastic in many respects, and still requires graves to be moved or built over. 

     The main weakness of the plan is that it duplicates facilities. It proposes to build a meeting room on the north side of the church, yet also proposes to remove a lot of pews from the back of the church, around the font, to make space to for serving tea in the church. Surely with a meeting room adjacent, the sensible thing would be to serve tea there (if tea is really so important) ? 
       The plan also proposes to remove both of the front pews and all of the choirstalls. These oak pews and choirstalls are in my opinion an intrinsic part of the Victorian design which has always worked well. The church has a flourishing choir so getting rid of choirstalls seems rather perverse.
     Having stackable chairs would look shabby and would certainly be no more comfortable than sitting in a pew. The chairs would also require storage... so the new plan includes a storage room. Without this stackable chair idea the extension could be much smaller.
    The planned extension would run the whole length of the North side of the church and the windows here would no longer look out onto the exterior. That would probably make the church rather dark and increase the use of electric lighting. The beautiful C.S. Lewis window would no longer be seen to advantage. 
     This plan needs to be rationalised and scaled down once more. A sensible idea would be to simply build ONE new room at the west end of the north wall, and use it for meetings and after-church social activity. The toilet could be situated at the far end of this, with the least noisy flushing mechanism available and a double door so that the noise does not disturb those in church. The pews and choirstalls should simply be left alone, and we don't need a huge vestry, or a lobby on the north side.
    I see no reason at all to change the existing church porch or give it glass doors. They would look out of place.
Nor do we need a special room for preparing tea and flowers.  If one new room is built at the west end, surely everything can be done in there. For the tea and coffee that the designers seem so obsessed with, a sink and cupboard can surely be built into a far smaller space than is allowed in these plans.

Shehzad Masih and Shama Bibi his pregnant wife beaten and burnt to death for being Christians

I wonder why the church cannot make use of the facilities at the adjacent school, with which it has historic links. If that is impossible, why doesn't the parish apply to build an extension to the Coach House, which according to the vicar is constantly booked up?
      The only part of these plans that does appear to be genuinely needed is the lavatory with disabled access. It seems there are elderly or infirm folk who come long distances to attend weddings or funerals and suffer from the frailty of the body. The planners should endeavour to find the most discreet and unobtrusive place and make it no bigger than is absolutely necessary. They should not forget that this is a historic building and part of our heritage. It's not a motorway service station.
The website admits that the funding for this plan is not yet in place. The vicar expects parishioners to help raise funds.

Image result for image Asia Bibi

I will not be doing so.  I think it is obscene that when Christians are being beaten to death or burnt alive in Pakistan, executed there and in Iran, and massacred in many parts of the world, Christians here want to spend money on lavish improvements to buildings.
My money will be going to charities for persecuted Christians in other parts of the world and I suggest that others, if they are Christians or even believers in human rights, follow my example.

You can write to Canon David Knight at: 12 Bankside, Headington Quarry, OX3 8LT or by no later than 28th November with comments on these plans. Any comments received will be considered by the buildings sub-committee.

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