£500k works on Machynlleth church are complete

Reporter:

Owain Farrington

RENOVATION and restoration works taking 13 years of planning, two years of construction and costing £500,000 have been completed at St Peter’s Church, Machynlleth.

The completion of the works was celebrated on Sunday, October 2, with a service of thanks giving by the bishop of Bangor, the Right Rev Andy John.

The works have seen the construction of a new mezzanine room, kitchen, toilets, lift and staircase at the west end of the building.

There is also a new church office and welcome area at the back of the church, as well as a new sound system and internal redecoration throughout the building.

The project would not have been possible without the generosity of the Big Lottery Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the All Churches Trust, the Diocese of Bangor’s WG Roberts Trust, and other smaller grants as well as the gifts and time from residents.

The architect for this project was Charles Cowan from Llanidloes and the contractor was JB Roberts from Corris.

The Rev Canon Kathleen Rogers, the vicar of Machynlleth, said: “I can remember a church PCC meeting 15 years ago, when we just came to the conclusion that we had to do something.

“It took 13 years from that point to being able to start the building work. I can remember the day when I came into the church and found that it had both a digger and a dumper truck in it.”

During the course of the works wet rot and dry rot were uncovered, part of the ceiling collapsed and one of the main roof beams was found to be rotten.

All of this then had to be dealt with, highlighting the importance of contingency planning.

The creation of something new within the building has not meant that the old has been lost. 

The pews that were removed to create the welcome area have been used to create the staircase, and one of the main features of St Peter’s – the Welsh version of the Te Deum (a traditional early Christian hymn) – which runs around the building’s coving has been painstakingly repainted.

Reflecting on the work the architect, Charles Cowan, said: “St Peter’s is a Grade 2* listed building and in creating new structures within it, we have worked with the aesthetic of the building, rather than making an architectural statement. The new structures will blend in with the rest of the building over time.”

Both Mr Cowan and Canon Rogers praised the readiness of the contractors, JB Roberts, to go beyond what would normally be expected of them, as well as Mr Ken Searson, the warden at St Peter’s, who was the project manager for the works from their inception to their completion.

Canon Rogers said: “We have worked as a team on this project, the professionals, Mr Geraint Davies and Capt Richard Lambert, who along with Ken and myself were the main project committee. 

“But Ken has been the ‘go-to’ person for us all, and his wisdom and availability have given the project the firm foundation that it needed in order to be successful.”

See full story in the County Times

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