For the first time in its history, St Mary’s church in the town is to be connected to the mains drainage. This is part of improvements being made inside the church to install a servery and a fully accessible toilet. The existing water supply, which supplies the heating system and an outside tap, will also be replaced.
This will require new pipes to be laid in trenches along the tarmac paths in the churchyard and across small stretches of grass. The work will start on Monday 9th October to allow pipes to be laid under part of the public footpath that runs from St Mary’s churchyard to Castle Street and this footpath will be closed to the public for the whole of the week.
It is hoped that all of the excavation work in the churchyard will be finished by the end of October. A spokesman for St Mary’s noted that a number of people drive through the churchyard each day even though the paths are not a part of the public highway. Cars should only be in the churchyard if an occupant is on church business and should be driven at a maximum of 10mph to keep pedestrians safe, including young children. During the work, there will be no access for cars through the churchyard. Special arrangements will be made for funerals and weddings and the church will be open as usual for services, visitors and private prayer.
David Tomlinson, Team Rector, noted, “We’re sorry for the disruption these developments are going to cause. If you are walking through the church grounds do stay safe, by taking extra care, especially at night, and respecting any barriers and signage. Whilst the churchyard has been closed for burials since 1857, we are concerned that this work is carried out carefully and respectfully. Therefore, we are pleased that an archaeologist will be overseeing any digging. If he has any concerns, he has the authority to pause the work and investigate further. During this phase, you are still very welcome to come to the church for worship, prayer or reflection.”
The new water supply will be run from Museum Street and will be laid by Affinity Water who are responsible for the timing of the work and minimising disruption. St Mary’s have assured the Walden Local that they will provide an update as soon as they know when this work will be carried out.
If anyone has any questions or concerns about the work being done they should ring St Mary’s Parish Office on 01799 506 024.