The aim of the proposed works is to increase the use of the grounds and hall by community groups, and also to give a positive outward, appearance that will act as an encouragement to those in the Church and the wider
community to work to combat negative behaviour and make the estate a worthwhile place to live.
1) To take back control of our grounds in order to enhance appearance, and for the benefit of the neighbourhood.
At the moment our grounds, open to the streets, are used by groups of teenagers, dog walkers, and cannot be used by children., community groups, or the Church itself. The grounds are full of litter, refuse and the results of being used as a dog toilet. The Garden of Remembrance is overgrown, uncared for, and again used by groups of young people. The car park area is used by prostitutes and as a meeting area for drug exchange. The bushes, trees and road surface have not been maintained for several years.
The proposal is to build a low wall right round the grounds, with decorative railings and a security system for the (newly landscaped) car park. The green areas would be disinfected, re-sown, and landscaped, some patio spaces laid, with the Garden of Remembrance made once again into an attractive feature. There will be gates at appropriate points for controlled access and use by local groups and organisations. Directly opposite the main green space is a nursery, which would have regular usage.
We would also be able to use the area ourselves, at times of special Feast Days, and as part of our input into the annual Leytonstone Festival.
2) To enhance the appearance of the buildings.
The estate has been comprehensively renovated over ten years, with high standard housing, parks and street furniture and trees. This has left the Church buildings looking squat closed and forbidding. It is not possible to see into Church from outside, and visitors are confused about entrances.
The proposal is to repaint to build a 'typical Church porch' enclosing the existing (largely unused) main doors, to create a veranda concept along the front (West) exterior wall, and to provide new notice boards. The Garden of Remembrance area would become a landscaped feature.
Along with the changes to the grounds we intend that these improvements would be part of the process, in partnership with other organisations, to help make the estate a positive place where people want to live. For in spite of the regeneration programme this is still a deprived area in terms of low pay, and economic opportunities, with worrying problems about the future of young people, many of whom congregate in intimidating groups in the Church grounds. People in the neighbourhood are struggling to make the estate a worthwhile place to live, but there is a knife-edge balancing act all the time, as to whether the estate will disintegrate or become a vibrant community.
3) To improve and extend the Church hall.
The hall is used four nights in the week, and on Sunday afternoons by local organisations, as well as by the Church for meetings and social events. It is in reasonable order, although the kitchen is small.
The proposal is to create a toilet with wheelchair access, to improve storage areas, and construct a larger kitchen. The north wall will be extended outwards into the green area to form a coffee bar - this would be for increased usage inside the hall, but would also have an entrance from the green area for use by local people and groups. What is now the kitchen and small yard will be turned into a lounge for private conversation.
4) Reducing anxiety.. increasing security.
All the above works will strengthen security for the buildings, the wall and railings preventing people climbing on the flat roofs, the car park changes dealing with issues of unauthorised use, and general security improvement for the vicarage.
Note : None of the proposals affect the worship area.
PCC 23 May 2004