Maidstone Mencap Charitable Trust has been feverishly fundraising for much needed restoration works on their building. The old church, which has served Maidstone Mencap for over 40 years, requires extensive repairs to the roof and stonework, with an estimated cost of around £100,000. Local construction company AT Palmers Ltd have now undertaken the majority of works and the old building looks almost as good as new! Maidstone Mencap run a Playschool and various Clubs for children aged 5 – 25 with a learning difficulty or disability. Staff and service users alike will all benefit from the restoration and Maidstone Mencap would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have raised funds for this much needed work.
The church is situated just inside the boundary of Mote Park which is home to an abundance of wildlife including bats. AT Palmers Ltd have created new bat roosting areas in the roof as part of the restoration works.
Working with their ecological consultants Lloyd Bore gaps have been left under tiles to create new opportunities for roosting bats.
Many UK bat species are in decline and Mote Park is an important area within Maidstone for this group of mammals. The proximity of foraging areas, such as lakes, woodland and open parkland, to roosting areas, such as buildings and large trees, makes Mote Park a wonderful place to see bats.
During the survey of the building Senior Ecologist Sam Durham, who was the lead ecologist on the project, said “we recorded several bat species during our survey of the building. Most were either foraging or flying overhead. We recorded one roost of common pipistrelle bats on one part of the building. This part of the building was not affected by works. Mencap and AT Palmers avoided impacts to the roost and were keen to create new roosting opportunities for bats. It’s great we have been able to work together to protect a known bat roost during works, and to deliver a net enhancement of Cobtree Hall for roosting bats.”
Maidstone Mencap Charitable Trust makes a positive difference to the lives of all with learning disabilities, their families and carers, within Maidstone and the surrounding areas. Sarah Heath of the trust said “Maidstone Mencap are thrilled with how the project has progressed. We have not only created a lovely new building for all our wonderful service users, but a cosy home for our resident bats too! Lloyd Bore and AT Palmers have worked sympathetically to our budget, building and many constraints in time scale and working hours due to the use and situation of our building. We are pleased that due to the efforts of AT Palmer Ltd and the generosity of Lloyd Bore the total project cost will come in under budget. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
AT Palmers Ltd said “It has been a pleasure working at Cobtree Hall for Maidstone MENCAP Charitable Trust. We are a well-established family business of 3 generations and specialise in the conservation and restoration of historic buildings such as the former Church at Cobtree Hall, which is approximately 150 years old.
The strength of A T Palmer Ltd lies with its skilled and dedicated workforce. Renovation of historic buildings is a sensitive process requiring experience and expertise.
Repairs were made to the stone walls requiring new dressed local rag stone to be laid in lime mortar. Damaged and eroded copings and decorative stone coining’s were repaired or replaced. The leaking roof was repaired and a new ridge laid. New gutters and downpipes were fitted. Timber repairs were carried out and external windows decorated.
We worked alongside the Senior Ecologist to maintain the integrity of the bat roosts.
The old building has been brought back to life with a face lift that will see it through for many more years to come.
We wish Maidstone Mencap Charitable Trust every success for the future in the valuable work that they do.”