The Evesham Abbey programme comprises a series of discrete (but linked) projects which are expected to last for a number of years. The final timetable is dependent on whether or not research archaeology is undertaken (that is, whether or not there’s a major dig on the site following the initial ground surveys) and the timing, approval and development of the various proposed public gardens.
A research archaeology project could, in itself, take many years to complete. Depending on scope/scale and permission and funding, such work could be phased alongside the development of either the nave garden, cloister garden and/or abbey grounds garden. Draft timetables have been prepared for the following projects, and a detailed timetable for the conservation project. In terms of time, these projects are expected to take:
- Conservation project – three years to clear and repair the walls (one year for Development and two years for Delivery)
- Cloister garden project – one or two years
- Nave garden project – one or two years
- Abbey grounds garden – one or two years
A detailed timetable has only been drafted for the conservation project (and not for the other projects). At the moment it is not possible to estimate the time which might be required for a major dig on the site (that is, the research archaeology project). By a similar token, it is not yet possible to provide anything other than draft budgets for the cloister garden or the nave garden. The current focus of the programme is the initial conservation project, for which detailed costs have been prepared. The phasing and possible overlap of the projects has not yet been considered, but the following illustrations indicate how it might be possible to manage the overall programme (not including research archaeology):
The conservation project aims to undertake a significant amount of fabric repair which is expected not only to be rather expensive but to last a number of years. This work is vital to making the area both safe and secure. The timing of this work is dependent on a range of factors; notably that lime mortar for the walls cannot be applied in cold weather.
At this stage it is impossible to provide a costing for further and more extensive archaeology on this nationally important site. The scope and scale of any such proposed work depends on the results of the initial archaeology. Moreover, detailed discussions will be required with Historic England and other bodies to ensure any such work is appropriate and approved.
Cloister garden project
The cloister garden is scheduled to begin once the conservation project is largely complete and only if there are no plans for further archaeology on this area. Tasks such as planting and pruning are dependent on the season and the weather.
Nave garden project
Abbey grounds garden project
The abbey grounds garden can begin once any research archaeology has been completed and the conservation work has been finished in this area. In the medium term this area is planned to be retained as allotments.
Detailed costings have been prepared for the first conservation project. This is the primary focus of the trust. The successful completion of the conservation work will inform and enable the subsequent projects, and detailed costings and timetables can then be prepared for those future projects.