News from around the Parish

Solar panels are now operational at St. Swithun's


Since mid-April, we have been generating electricity! A generous donation from a parishioner got us started, and the Restoration Trust really helped us when major roof and timber repairs were needed. More details are in a small display at the back of church.

Summary of the project

The project to install a 17kW solar photovoltaic (PV system) with 45 panels is now completed! 

Since 13th April 2017 – Maundy Thursday – the Parish has been generating its own electricity! In the first week – we generated some 374 Kilowatt hours (kWh). In a year – we hope to generate between 14,000 and 15,000 kWh of electricity, approx 2/3 during the summer but some during autumn and winter. 



At a meeting on the 16th March 2016, the Church Council (PCC) of St Swithun’s voted in favour of installing a photovoltaic array (solar panels) to the south aisle roof of the church. 

The project falls within the Church of England’s (C of E) national environmental campaign called ‘Open & Sustainable Churches’, and the local Diocese of Chichester supports this campaign through its own Environmental Policy. 

The C of E’s national resource organisation, ChurchCare, supports all parishes caring for their buildings today. It runs a strategic campaign called ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ which is designed to reduce the environmental impact and especially the energy use and carbon footprint of every church. 

Albeit that the Church is a grade II* listed building, considerable care has been taken to get all the correct approvals by employing our Inspecting Architect, JD Clarke of Eastbourne. 

The Diocesan Advisory Committee has approved the project, Mid-Sussex District Council has granted planning consent and various conservation bodies have been consulted. The panels will not be visible from the ground. 

At the July 2016 PCC meeting, the PCC re-confirmed the decision to proceed, as at that time, it was anticipated that approx ¼ of the lead roof be repaired. 

However when the project started it was discovered that the lead had not been fixed according to the (current) recommended practice and as a result the lead had sustained significant damage since the early 1980-s when it was last renewed. 

After a detailed report from our Inspecting Architect, the PCC resolved – at a special meeting on 31st August 2016 – to proceed with the replacement of the lead to the whole of the South Aisle roof. At the end of September 2016, the Restoration Trust voted to make a major donation to this project from their funds. 

In the middle of October 2016, Our Architect advised that the underlying timbers on the South Aisle were deficient and needed replacing and that there were also volumes of rubble in the roof void that also needed removal. 

In early January 2017, it was discovered that in cold weather (less than 3 degrees C), there was condensation appearing on the new roof timbers when the church was open and being heated. After further consultations, it was agreed to install some 24 air vents on the South Aisle roof.

Tony Cox, Churchwarden.

Photographs detailing the works

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St.Swithuns day East Grinstead - The Whitehall Cinema bombing memorial service 2
St.Swithuns day East Grinstead - The Whitehall Cinema bombing memorial service 2013

Teddy Bear Service at St. Swithun's
Teddy Bear Service at St. Swithun's in aid of The Diocesan Family Support Work

The Vicar Officiating at the Service to Commemorate the Start of the First World
The Vicar Officiating at the Service to Commemorate the Start of the First World War

UPDATE ON the South Aisle Solar Panels Project
UPDATE ON the South Aisle Solar Panels Project
Open 'UPDATE ON the South Aisle Solar Panels Project'

Who was St. Swithun?
Who was St Swithun?

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