When we as a family joined St Andrew’s in 1970, and over the years since, I have felt that the Church at night looks a dark cold building, not giving the impression of the activity that goes on at St Andrew’s. I noticed that some churches are floodlit at night giving the impression that they are alive and welcoming.
So, some years ago, I started a project to floodlight St Andrew’s at night. This has been a long trip, but in 2019 it sprang into life. I obtained prices and we had a demonstration. The PCC decided that we should just light the Garden of Rest, as the Kimbolton Road side of the church with its wire grills didn't look very nice floodlit. As we are in a conservation area, I had to get full planning permission from the Council, which included climate change regulations and a bat report and also submit the whole project to the St Albans Diocese planning committee. Due to Covid there were delays in contacting the people for the permission. Members of the Council and St Albans paid a visit to the site to see for themselves. The Council gave us praise as they felt it added to the character and appearance of the Bedford Conversation Area.
At one time, surrounded by papers and red tape, I was about to pack it all in, but in my prayers the good Lord sent me Clare, who lives nearby and has experience in these matters. She came to my rescue and we moved forward as she knew a way through the red tape!
So on 7th October 2022 the light was fixed to the wall and is working. The cost of around £700 was from the Hall Trust, under whose terms funding for anything connected to the Garden of Rest is allowed.
The light is on a timer to come on from 4pm until 11pm as agreed with the council planners. There is also a sensor that overrides the timer and switches it on at dusk. Modern lights today are very efficient in response to Climate Change concerns.
I have received very good comments on the overall effect. If at night you are coming back from town, can I suggest you slow down before the church and view the project.
It’s been a long bumpy road but, I believe, worth it. There is more light which will help security to the area and tells people passing by we are alive, come and join us.
PS: Watch this space for news of my other project – the possibility of installing Solar Panels on the Church Centre roof next year.
Editor's Note: As you have probably realised, the picture is not our floodlight! Ours is on a smaller and more subtle scale. Come and see!