With the sale of the Congregational Church in the centre of Ashford to the Kent County Council to build a new Magistrates Court the proceeds were divided 1/3 to Cade Road, 1/3 to Kennington and 1/3 to Bank Street which allowed plans on all three sites to go ahead.
Jackson & Jacksons were appointed Architects and after approval of plans by the two Churchs and the Borough Council, to approach builders to submit tenders.
After some amendments and negotiation of price the contract was awarded to R J Barwick for £22,461 and the Contract was signed on 15th November 1971. As the main Congregational Church was to be demolished the 4 Stained Glass windows were to be removed and incorporated into the sanctuary area of Cade Road by Folkstone Glass Co at a cost of £216.40
Meanwhile a joint group was formed and met on a number of occasions to get to know each other and work out how we would work together. Building work was scheduled to commence on 29th November 1971 and the completion date was set as 9th June 1972. The Rev Richard Snuggs together with PT Oliver met onsite with the builders and the
Architects on a monthly basis to check the somewhat slow progress. The opening date was provisionally ﬁxed for 1st July to allow for possible delays but the Builders applied for an Extension, the progress was still slow and a second extension was applied for and
the opening date was put back to 5th August. The Builders were told that no further extensions would be granted and a ﬁnal opening date was ﬁxed for 16th September 1972.
On the day painters were still putting the ﬁnal touches to the paintwork in the morning! As a result of the delays the Church invoked the penalty clause, as provided for in the Contract, with the Architect remarking, when the ﬁnal account was submitted, that this was the ﬁrst time that he had ever known a contract to come out under budget.
New Pitched Roof
Over the years we suffered a number of leaks into the building due to the rainwater pipes being run down inside the hollow steel stanchions with the felt rooﬁng turned down into the top creating a restricted outlet which could not cope with heavy rainfall and felt rooﬁng having a life span of around 15 years the Church Council decided to look into having a pitched roof placed over the whole building to solve the problem and to save future congregations having to re-felt every 15 years.
Lee Evans Partnership of Canterbury were asked too look into the practicability of such a scheme. They agreed it was possible and so were asked to draw up the necessary plans and obtain planning permission and tenders for the work.
Barwick’s were appointed even though the cost was more than twice the cost of the original building! The work was completed early 1987
The next big expense was when we decided that we ought to comply with the provision of a disabled toilet facility. After some consideration we decided to remove the existing toilets and install the disabled toilet in their place, place the new toilets in one of the classrooms, knock down the wall between the kitchen and the other classroom so as to enlarge the kitchen and build 2 new larger classrooms on the grass area to the left hand side of the Entrance doors. Mr Roy Stone was asked to draw up the plans and obtain planning permission and prices to carry out the work.
We also wanted to enlarge the Vestry but this was deleted from the contract when the Council insisted that the foundations be taken down to 2meters deep due to the tree growing in the neighbours garden and the builder wanted an extra £2000 to do so. To save some money on the contract Mr P Oliver offered to install the new Kitchen units which somebody had kindly donated.
When the 2 original windows were removed from the old classrooms it was found that the bricks that the Church was built of were no longer available and the Architect chose the ones that stand out like a sore thumb and irks the writer every time he turns into Cade Road especially as a much better match was used to the bottom section of the wall of the classrooms.
In 1996 the Upper room was created, by P. Oliver and Bob Cooper over the store room and Kitchen in the space formed when the new pitched roof was put in piace with the access staircase from the Hall adjoining the Emergency exit.