In February 2006, Runnymede Borough Council approved our planning application for a major extension to both the Church and Centre which will enlarge our seating capacity to 440, increase the number of rooms for Sunday and mid week activities and enhance the facilities available for the community in Virginia Water. In a survey conducted in November 2004, over 74% of church members who expressed an opinion endorsed the project designs. Survey Results.



Arial perspective of both the Church and Centre extensions

Ground and first floor elevations

West elevation extension to the Church

New roof and entrance to the Church Centre

Enhanced corridor entrance to the Church

View looking to the back of the Church showing the new gallery

View showing the new side aisles

View looking forward and from the gallery

View of the Centre from the east side driveway

New Centre entrance

First floor entrance the the new Centre

New Community Hall

Enhanced copies of these pictures are on display at Christ Church. The designs were undertaken by our architect - Graham Sharpe


Reasons for the New Buildings


The Expanding Community
The community of Virginia Water has grown significantly in the last ten years with significant developments at Wentworth Gate, St Anne's Park, Virginia Park and Sunrise. This has not been matched by an increase in community facilities. At the same time the activity of the church has expanded with a growing congregation and increased participation with the local community.

Church Attendance
Attendance at the main 10.30 Sunday service has increased steadily from around 180 in 1993 to average 275 in 2005, exceeding the current cramped seating capacity of 260. Peak attendance at Easter, Christmas, Remembrance, Harvest Festival and other special times exceeds 350. These numbers can not be properly, comfortably or indeed safely accommodated in the existing worship area.

The 0-14 year olds Sunday Club programme currently has 169 children registered while the capacity of the existing accommodation, based on OFSTED criteria, is only 53.

The proposed extension to the worship area together with the proposed gallery will increase maximum seating capacity to 440. The figure of 440 represents the maximum that could be fitted into the available space including ancillary temporary seating. In conventional layout the seating capacity is substantially less. A typical layout, as shown on the application drawings, will accommodate approximately 370 seats, only slightly greater than the existing peak attendance. The proposed re-ordering and extension represents the minimum considered sensible to meet the current need with an allowance for the foreseeable future.

The Congregation
The 2005 directory of the Church family lists 700 people who make up the regular congregation. On average 50% will attend the church each week.

The register shows the geographical distribution of the Church family with 65% living within 2 miles of the church. The table below shows the overall distribution.

0-2 miles 440 or 65% Virginia Water, Longcross, Enfield Green
2-5 miles 178 or 27% Egham, Sunningdale, Ascot, Sunninghill, Staines, Thorpe, Cheapside and Windlesham.
5-10 miles 47 or 7% Windsor, Bracknell, Weybridge and Ashford

A map of Virginia Water shows Christ Church to be at the centre of the parish with Wentworth to the SW, Egham Wick to the NW, Stroude to the NE and Trumps Green to the SE. The church is therefore quite central to the local as well as wider community it serves.

Need for Church Hall and Rooms
The Church, until recently, owned an ageing hall near the railway station. Although heavily used by the local community it was badly situated for Church use, was in need of major refurbishment and becoming an increasing liability financially. It was agreed by the Parochial Church Council to sell the old hall and invest the money in new facilities on the Church site.

It was sold on the understanding that the hall would remain available for community use. However, within weeks of purchase, the new owner gave notice to the existing users that it would no longer be available. The PCC has provided the Scallywags parents and toddler a new home at Christ Church. The Crusader group with up to 150 children and teenagers which used to meet at the Church hall is no longer running. Sadly the closure of the old Church hall has exacerbated the need locally for new facilities for young people.

The Church presently runs youth clubs on a Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings for 72 teenagers registered with Christ Church and a further 30-40 teenagers who meet on Tuesday evenings at Christ Church with Young Life, an American youth organisation. These four youth clubs presently make use of the existing Church Centre rooms and are desperate for a hall for indoor games and activities. If our application is approved we will also offer the new facilities to Crusaders.

Our Sunday Club programme which meets during the main morning service has 169 children aged 0-14 years registered. An average of 104 children attend weekly. We have recently discovered that the seven rooms presently used by these clubs can only accommodate 53 children based on OFSTED guidelines. We therefore have nearly twice as many children attending weekly than the present facilities are designed to accommodate. The new extension will provide 6 new and larger rooms which, together with the conversion of four of the existing rooms into two larger rooms, will provide adequate accommodation for our Sunday Club programme.

Besides providing a games area for use mid week by our four youth clubs as well as the six Sunday clubs, the new hall is essential to provide space for the Church family to meet before and after services for community time and refreshments. At present these have to be provided in the worship area of the Church which is cramped and uncomfortable.

At present special events such as the Tsunami Appeal dinner held last February, the annual Harvest Festival Supper and other occasional community events such as barn dances, Murder Mystery plays and musical concerts all have to be held in the worship area of the Church building itself requiring major reorganisation of the seating and furniture. The new hall will enable us to hold these community events in comfort without impinging on the worship area of the Church.

Transport and Parking
A substantial proportion of the Church family live within walking distance. Some cycle and cycle racks were provided as part of the recent car park improvements. Both walking and cycling are actively encouraged.

Inevitably many people arrive by car. Recent works to the car park (Planning Approval 03/0386) were undertaken to increase on site parking capacity as well as to improve both on site and on and off site traffic flow. There are 54 on site car park spaces, excluding those in the Vicarage car park. To meet peak demand on Sundays, agreement has been reached with Christ Church C.E. Infant School to the use of their car park and playground which can comfortably provide a further 32 spaces within a few minutes walk of the church. On Sunday mornings the church collects specific groups by minibus, the largest group currently being students from Royal Holloway. The church is also exploring a further minibus scheme providing transport from Virginia Water.

As the extension works are largely required to provide adequate accommodation for the existing congregation it is not envisaged that there will be a resulting significant increase in peak vehicle movements. Peak usage occurs on Sundays and therefore outside peak weekday general traffic movement and rush hours.

Need for Increased Community Facilities
The Virginia Water Community Association building in Cabrera Avenue is fully booked all week and Christ Church itself is stretched to provide accommodation for local groups.

On a daily basis Christ Church is used by a wide variety of community groups. Regular bookings include:

Tuesdays Community Bible Study and Young Life
Wednesdays Senior Citizen's Lunch Club, Chipmunks Parent & Toddler Group, [email protected] Youth Group, Young Life and an aerobics club
Thursdays Thursday Morning for Women, Cherubs Parents & Toddler Group
Fridays Slimmers, Community Bible Study, FUEL Youth Group and Alcoholics Anonymous
Saturdays Men's Bible study group and regular breakfasts

The most recent group - Cherubs has only been running 8 weeks and already has 30 families registered. It has highlighted to need for more community based groups for young families, teenagers and senior citizens especially.

In addition the facilities are and will be available for one off events. The lack of a church hall inhibits the use of the building for many activities. The current state of the worship area makes it unattractive for weddings and similar events resulting in these activities having to taking place outside the local community.

Currently all the accommodation, including the main body of the church is accessed from one common entrance. This imposes limitations on usage and discourages flexibility. The proposed works provide separate entrances making it easier for different activities to take place at the same time and for more flexible community use. Internal links between areas, the provision of a lift and improved sanitary facilities will improve usability and access, particularly for the very young, the elderly and the disabled.

The proposed extension will not only provide urgently needed accommodation for the direct Church family but will also be used at other times by community groups. These community activities will be outside the times of peak usage by the church and therefore will not contribute to peak traffic flow. Also the community usage, existing and proposed, takes place outside the times of peak traffic flow in the general area.

Alternatives to Extension
At Christ Church, like most Anglican churches, children are seen as an integral part of the church family and worship with their parents for some (or all as at Festivals) of the main morning service before going to their clubs. It is essential therefore that adults and children be accommodated on the same site. Alternative accommodation, such as at Christ Church School, has been considered but ruled out on health and safety grounds as it is too far away, would not meet the needs of the Sunday club activities and would also interfere with the running of the school.

The temporary use of local homes near the Church has also been tried in the past but ruled out for the same reasons. As families with children make up a large part of the congregation, spreading activities over multiple locations would greatly increase the use of cars. Parents would not only need to reach the church but also drop off and collect children from different locations, perhaps several with children of differing ages meeting at diverse locations.

To avoid fragmentation and to promote the sense of the Church family activities need to be centred at one place and that place should be the parish church and church centre. In addition there is a need for additional accommodation for community activities and the proposed extension will meet both needs. Raising money for the proposed works is a daunting task and the Parochial Council would not have initiated the fund raising campaign nor sanctioned the current proposals without first considering all alternatives.

Renewable Resources
The church is committed to sustainability. On a day to day basis it already recycles plastic, glass, paper and cardboard. The existing building is not energy efficient. The glazed entrance corridor readily loses heat in the winter and suffers from solar gain in the summer. The original church is un-insulated.

The proposed works involve re-cladding the entrance corridor with thermally efficient glazing to the walls and with a slated fully insulated roof. The combination of south facing vertical glazing and over hanging roof will allow low winter sun to penetrate the building providing light and heat while the projecting roof will shelter the glazing and interior from high angle summer sun.

The extension to the main body of the church will replace areas of solid walls with new insulated walls. Works to the roof, in particular to the lower side isles will allow the introduction of insulation in areas previously un-insulated or poorly insulated. The new hall and extension to the community facilities will be constructed to at least the current building regulation standards of insulation and thermal efficiency and those areas of the retained building affected by the works will also be upgraded. The works will both require and allow the updating of the existing heating system and the introduction of thermally efficient boilers and control systems.

The church is also keen to explore the use of renewable energy resources including the use of solar panels and heat pumps. Detail design cannot be commenced until after planning permission has been obtained. Rather than commit to a 'token' energy scheme at this stage the church intends to carry out a detailed study of alternative sources allowing fully considered proposals to be incorporated into the detail design. Any such schemes, including the use of solar panels, would be carefully incorporated into the design so as not to detract from the appearance of the building or adversely impact on the local environment. Any proposals affecting the external appearance will be submitted for planning approval.

The external materials for the extension works are determined largely by the need to match or harmonise with the existing. The roofs form a major element of the whole scheme and these are envisaged as timber structures allowing the use of a renewable resource.

Updates to the Christ Church Extension Project will be added periodically.
(updated February 2006)
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