Contractors line up for Eric Parry-designed extension and restoration of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square

Five contractors have submitted bids for Eric Parry’s £34m redevelopment of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square.

The firms that submitted bids last week were Walter Lilly, a construction arm of Montpellier; Wallace, Kier’s historic buildings subsidiary; Costain; Interior/Exteriors; and Mowlem.

A decision on the winning contractor is due next month, and work is set to start on the two-stage, fixed-price deal early next year. The construction cost is expected to be about £22m.

The redevelopment of the church has won the support of the Prince of Wales, who has agreed to become a patron of the trust overseeing the scheme.

A source at one contractor described the project, which will restore the church and extend it into Trafalgar Square, as “lovely” but “risky”, as it included extensive digging underground.

The project, which received planning permission last October, consists of three main elements: excavation of the vaults beneath the church to a depth of about 4.5 m; a refurbishment; and the extension of the church to the north.

A lower-ground-floor entrance pavilion and foyer will be added to the church, which was originally designed by James Gibbs in 1721.

Gardiner & Theobald beat off competition from Rowney Sharman and Bovis Lend Lease to oversee the scheme last year. G&T is also QS and planning supervisor on the job.

The project team includes conservation architect Caroe & Partners, structural engineer Alan Baxter & Associates, development adviser Malcolm Reading & Associates and M&E engineer Max Fordham. The scheme is due for completion by 2007.

  • Eric Parry is the architect of the proposed tower at 185 Park Street near the Tate Modern in London – a fact that was omitted from last week’s article in Building (page 10).