United Reform Church
Welwyn Garden City
04 August 2016
The United Reform Church in Welwyn Garden City is a busy church with a large congregation. Based in the town centre, they are an established part of the community, but their small car park was becoming overrun by shoppers looking to circumvent parking charges in place nearby. As a result the Church Council was looking for a way to protect their parking facilities from unauthorised users.
Usually, securing a four-metre entranceway is straightforward, but a site survey and in-depth conversation with the Church revealed that the task in hand was anything but standard. The Church had a unique set of requirements which needed to be resolved before any solution could be installed.
Unlike most commercial buildings, where the same users need access every day, the Church is used by multiple groups of people throughout the week, all with different access demands. The agreed system therefore needed to be flexible enough to handle multiple users, while still providing the church with the 24 hour protection they required.
After getting a full understanding of the Church and their needs, it was decided that the best solution was an AUTOPA P-Series Automatic Barrier alongside the versatile Paxton Net 2 Access Control system. This system offers site owners an advanced PC based access control software which can be quickly and easily administered centrally. It can easily combine with proximity card and intercom systems, and is powerful enough to accommodate the Church’s 150 members with room to spare. Using this programme, the Church was able to tailor access so that only congregation members were given unrestricted access to the car park, while the leaders of the weekly groups only gained access as their demands required.
The final hurdle which the church had to clear before the barrier could be installed was with the local council. The church is located within a local conservation area which is designed to protect the “special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area”. As a result, the council was concerned that the installation of a barrier would detract from the special character of the wider area. These fears were put to rest by coating the barrier green, helping the barrier to blend into its surroundings with ease.
When the AUTOPA Installation Team left the site, they left the Church with a fully functioning automatic barrier, tailored to their unique needs. Their car park is now secure from unauthorised access and allows automated access to their registered users. The new barrier is befitting of Welwyn’s special character and style, and the versatile control systems are able to grow with the Church, providing protection for the foreseeable future.