The proposal sought to widen the appeal of the Retreat House by providing new facilities within the constraints of local planning and the ethos of the House.
The proposed plans included:
- PHASE 1A – Renovation of the Gatehouse to incorporate five en-suite bedrooms COMPLETED
- PHASE 1B – An upgrade of the Conductor’s suite to include en-suite facilities and private sitting room COMPLETED
- PHASE 1C – A new Orangery for meetings, meals and relaxation COMPLETED
- PHASE 1C – Modernisation of the easy access room on the ground floor, including a fit for purpose wet room COMPLETED
- PHASE 1C – Greatly improved access and facilities in all areas, especially for those with mobility constraints COMPLETED
- PHASE 2 – Provision of en-suite showers and wet rooms to 10 of the first floor bedrooms COMPLETED
- PHASE 2 – Improvements to the separate toilets, showers and bathrooms COMPLETED
- PHASE 2 – Lift access to the first floor COMPLETED
- Provision of ensuite to the remainder of bedrooms – on hold.
- An enlarged Refectory – on hold.
- Modernised kitchen area with cold-room, dry store and delivery area – on hold.
- A new glazed Reception area with ramp access – on hold.
- Development of lower ground floor to incorporate laundry and housekeeping rooms plus a staff-room – on hold.
The refurbishment proposals have been phased so that the House remained open for business and our programme of Retreats and Quiet Days continued as normal as possible.
Making changes, while maintaining the quiet ambience and established character was both challenging and costly. The total work to date has cost in the region of £1.3 million. We have been very fortunate to have received a sizeable legacy that enabled us to proceed with Phase 1 and along with generous donations, from many parishes and individuals, we were able to continue through to the completion of Phase 1C.
We have now been able to complete the work through to the end of Phase 2 following a generous advance from the Chelmsford Diocesan Board of Finance. This is to be repaid and as such fund-raising is still an important factor going forward. More information will be available in due course.