Success with Saint Mary's Church
The first project is underway: the trustees have agreed the heads of the terms of the lease with the Church in Wales, and await the lease documents. The architect for the repair and conversion has been selected.
The Historic Buildings Council has advised Cadw to award major grants towards the costs of repairs to the historic fabric - of the church at the usual rate in Conservation Areas, and to the Coade Stone arch and gate at a higher rate. This is in recognition of the exceptional historic interest of Coade Stone, and the almost unique character of the Tremadog gateway.
Thanks mainly to a generous loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund. the trust has funding to allow it to enter the lease, and to commission the preliminary work by the architect. This should enable an application for further funding to be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is likely to be 12 to 18 months before we know the outcome of any application. Meanwhile, the trust will have to raise
signifi cant match funding - we do not know how much yet until the architect has prepared and costedd the lens The trust's rough estimate for the costed plans . The trust's rough estimate for the repairs and conversion is £250,000.
We do know the costs of the most urgent work: the stairs and the timber floors within the tower are completely rotten.
Raymond Jones (Cod a Sclod) has bravely ventured up the tower to wind the clock till the millennium, but the insurers permit no further access. So, the first appeal is for funding to replace the rotten timbers to enable safe access to wind the clock. The trust has obtained quotations for this work the overall cost being about £4.000.
The trust will not have to obtain Listed Building Consent for replacing the timber work exactly as the original so this work can be carried out as soon as the funding is raised.
Selecting the Architect
The architect was chosen after a careful process of selection, on the basis of relevant experience and qualifications. Eight small practices and two larger ones (seven in North Wales. one just over the border in Shrewsburv) were invited to submit information
about themselves. From these, four were selected to tender. The tender was in two parts, with the assessment heavily weighted towards quality. In the event. the fees proposed were almost identical, so that the selection was entirely on personnel and relevant previous experience. Two practices were interviewed, one small local practice and the firm eventually selected. This is Andrew Arrol of Arrol and Snell, Shrewsbury .The practice specialises in conservation and is experienced in dealing with the Heritage Lottery Fund, redundant churches. and Building Preservation Trusts.
Tower and Spire
You may soon see temporary works around the tower. These are required to reduce the risk of injury from falling render, again required by the insurers We hope that the access for the temporary works will allow the trust's architect Andrew Arrol to assess the condition of the render, and the underlying brickwork. Some of the render may well be the original Parker's Roman Cement. lt will be interesting to learn if it is original material of the more recent repairs that are falling off now - or both!
The trust is still looking for a user or a combination of uses for the church. In the past, a history exhibition combined with a classrooms; an art gallery; a bookshop and cafe; and a healing centre have been proposed, The trust wants to ensure that the character of the building is changed as little as possible, and that public and community access is maintained on a regular basis. Whatever the use, it will have to be self-financing - that is, earning the maintenance of the building long term.
Has anyone got any suggestions? There may be activities looking for a home - creche wanting a safe garden, computer maintenance company, professionals needing characterful offices - the trust would be happy to work with individuals or a
group with a suitable suggestion. Perhaps the long awaited Community Appraisal will throw up some ideas.
There is an area of cremated burials in front of the church. The trust would like to clear the grass and weeds from this area as soon as possible. Any volunteers? lf there are enough, some of the brambles and buddleaia elsewhere could be cleared too, to
make the grounds more accessible. The trust will be seeking funding and advice from the Prince's Trust for further works in the grounds.
The owners of the Tannery site went into liquidation during the first part of 1999. The trust made an offer to purchase, but a higher offer from another party was accepted. At the time of writing that sale is due for completion. So it looks as though ail the trust's efforts will be lost in obtaining funding for and carrying out feasibility studies, obtaining Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent, and raising offers of funding from HBC/Cadw and, indeed, from Europe under the old ERDF 5b programme.
Still, if the new purchaser manages to repair the Grade II-star listed building, and find a use for it that respects its character, the trust will support him all the way. Our work in preventing its demolition way back in 1991, and persuading Dwvfor to mothball it, will have been worthwhile.
The trust must set on record the most generous legacy left in the will of Michael Seymour, who died during 1999. Michael Seymour was the Honourable Curator of the Ffestiniog Railway Company Archives. He had been Supporter personally since 1997, and kindly photocopied and transcribed for the trust three letters from Madocks to John Williams. The trust is most grateful for this timely bequest.
The trust would like to invite all its supporters, residents of Tremadog, and any other interested paties to the AGM which
will be held as a public meeting as The meeting will be at 7. 00p. m. in the Memorial Hall, Tremadog on Monday 21st February 2000.
Please come to share suggestions for the use of the church, ideas for the grounds, to volunteer and to donate to the appeal