Repair of nave roof at Burnham Deepdale to start after months of delay

Hard hats have arrived in earnest to repair the south nave roof at Burnham Deepdale.

Scaffolding went up in March, then was taken down and now has gone up again at St Mary’s Church.

The £48,000 project, which includes installation of new rainwater goods, was halted by the March 23 Covid-19 lockdown. The Norfolk Churches Trust also gave £4,000 towards the repairs.

Now, finally, work has started, said churchwarden Mrs Verily Borthwick. “The scaffolding has been erected again and the roofing contractors have arrived on site,” she added.

“In March, we were all set to start work on the south nave roof. That very night the Prime Minister announced lockdown so everything stopped,” said Mrs Borthwick.

When it was not possible to start work on the nave roof, partly because of concerns about the possible presence of bats, the scaffolding was taken down and removed.

While bats are known to be present in the tower, it was thought prudent by the parochial church council to wait until the end of the breeding season to avoid any possible disturbance in the nave.

The nave roof repair by David Wall & Sons, of Watton, which began on September 9, is expected to take between four and possibly six weeks to complete. However, a further inspection of the nave tiles for signs of bats will be carried out on Monday, September 14 by Philip Parker. Then, work will resume.

St Mary’s Church has been energetic in raising funds. And a plant stall at the church has proved popular. Sales were brisk through the spring with proceeds donated to the local foodbank in April, May and June. However, with significant building repair costs, it was decided from early July to shift the focus back to the church. In July alone, some £200 was raised from plant sales.

The Round Tower Churches Society also awarded £2,000 towards the cost of repairs in June 2019. In a note to members, Mrs Borthwick wrote: “I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that we are about to start work on repairs to the south nave roof.”