Access Ramp & WC Project at The Tabernacle, Hastings

Works are scheduled to commence early in the new year at The Tabernacle in Hastings. The Tabernacle is a Victorian church building set within a Conservation area which has been used as a place of worship since its construction in 1854.

The existing building has an entrance porch which is set to the back of the footpath, but which has a high step up to the entrance door. Given there is no fixed means of level access, previously a portable ramp had been used when required to span over the existing step and give access to the front door. This arrangement was not ideal as the portable ramp needed to be positioned on the pavement and therefore presented a possible trip hazard to passers-by when in use.

The current design proposal seeks to remove this issue with the provision of a permanent ramp providing level access up to the front entrance door from the right hand-side of the frontage. This ramp will be accessed through an opening in the railings to the back of the footpath and will span across the gap between the back of the footpath and the building frontage.

The existing entrance porch structure will remain but will have modifications to the existing roofline to produce a raised dormer peak on the right-hand side which will allow for the required head height to be achieved above the new ramp surface. Given the historical significance of the existing building, and its context within the Conservation area, careful consideration had to be given to the modifications proposed to the external appearance of the building. The considerations included the provision of a new stone arched head to the newly formed opening, with detailing to match the existing building.

In addition to the provision of the new access ramp, the proposed works also include an accessible WC facility in full compliance with the current Building Regulations (Part M) and Equality Act 2010.

The proposal put forward to the Local Planning Authority was assessed with approval granted in 2020. Detailed drawings and specifications have since been developed with the project tendered and a Contractor subsequently appointed to commence the works in the new year. Watch this space for further updates on the project as it gets underway!