It was over ten years ago that we first started planning this project. With the help of architect Malcolm Harding we came up with a design to make maximum use of the restricted site. The church is in a conservation area so our changes had to be sympathetic to the surroundings. Several meetings with the planning department were required to make sure our plans were acceptable.
Planning permission was granted by West Oxfordshire District Council and we started fund-raising and applying for grants. The Methodist Church was extremely supportive of our plans and our own Oxford Circuit immediately pledged £50,000 towards the scheme.
Planning Consent was granted - for a second time because the statuary 5 year time limit ion the original application had expired. Guy Roberts from Tackley took over from Malcolm as the project's architect.
Moors Construction were appointed as the lead contractor. The conditions in the planning consent were discharged - this included building a small section of wall to demonstrate the finish of the new building. OMK from Woodstock were appointed to perform a full structural survey of the building
Final building control approval by West Oxfordshire District Council was granted. However by this time we had run into difficulties with arranging access to the site compound that was planned to be in the garden of 34 Park Street at the rear of the church. Despite several meetings with Blenheim Estates, Bladon Parish Council and affected residents and leaseholders we were unable to resolve this problem.
A village meeting voted to accept the disruption and inconvenience caused by using the front of the building for site access. Moors Construction agreed to re-evaluate the project on this basis. Following consultations with OCC Highways, Huw Jones from HVJ Transport submitted a Construction Traffic Management Plan to WODC to allow us to make deliveries on the main road at the front of the building.
The contract was signed with Moors Construction. The costs and time scale had both increased due to the new site access arrangements but at least in meant work could start.