Why we need a new building?
St Mark’s Church and Hall is a dual use building erected in 1956 to replace an earlier timber building dating from the 1920s ay a cost of £4000. It used pre-fabricated concrete pillars and panels for the walls and a lightweight timber structure for the roof, covered with bituminous felt tiles. Like many prefabricated buildings of the post war era, it was not expected to have a lifetime of more the 25 to 30 years and now shares their typical symptoms. A building condition report, made in 2016, identified the following problems:-
- Cracking in most of the concrete frame columns where water has got in and rusted reinforcing bars.
- Wet rot in self supporting roof trusses, especially where the bell tower joins the roof.
- Recent extensive repairs to the felt roof have fixed immediate problems but have a limited life.
- Heating system is operational but old. Spare parts are no longer available.
Our photographic evidence, below, shows that the building is living on borrowed time. We need to recognise that if any of these problems worsen significantly, the building may have to close and that could happen in the next few years. However, the real problem is that the building does not meet modern requirements and is unsuitable for many of the groups that would like to use it for their activities. “It was not built for the Twenty First Centre”, as Steve Lincoln, Community Officer for Winchester City Council. has told us.