Planning Permission Granted for St Mary the Virgin’s Church Henham, Essex.

We are pleased to announce that planning permission has just been granted for an extension to St Mary’s Church in Henham, Essex; a Grade I listed parish church dating from the early 13th century. St Mary’s has a very lively and committed congregation including many children. The condition of the nearby church hall has been deteriorating and is inconvenient to use, as well as being inaccessible to people who are less able. There are also timing difficulties when children’s’ activities and church services start at the same time and so the church community wanted to bring all its activities onto the church site. The extension will provide lavatories, a kitchen and meeting spaces with folding screens to provide separate rooms which can be opened to provide different combinations of spaces for children and larger groups.

The extension will be on the north side of the church where the ground is almost clear of grave markers and where it can be connected to the church by reopening the blocked north door. The part nearest the church contains the lavatories and kitchen and is designed as an outer north aisle using traditional materials and the architectural style of the medieval church, the outer part contains the meeting and activity spaces and is deliberately different using contrasting materials in a more contemporary style. The whole is then unified internally by a ceiling that flows between the spaces, and externally by a green sedum roof.  Timber cladding has been designed in wide and narrow bands so that the narrower bands can continue across windows to provide shading and better security. Rain water from the extension roof will be slowed down by the green roofs which absorb water and reduce the strain on the drainage system.  External spaces will include a garden of contemplation to the west side and an herb garden to the east. It is hoped that construction can begin in late 2020.