‘Character’ conversion plan for Redland church site

April 24 2015

A RAMSHACKLE church in Cranbrook Road is soon to be given a new lease of life.

A RAMSHACKLE church in Cranbrook Road is soon to be given a new lease of life.

New Church, which has laid vacant at the Kersterman Road junction since October 2013, is to be redeveloped into houses and flats, the Bishopston Voice can reveal.

The future of the church previously remained unclear, due it being at the centre of a legal wrangle, with community group Protecting Redland from Over Development (PROD) wanting it to maintain its Asset of Community Value status, and its owners, General Conference of the New Church, wanting to have its listing revoked.

Buildings listed as an ACV by the council give the local community more say over its future.

However, the listing was thrown out after the owners appealed against the ACV at a tribunal in January.

The site has now finally been sold to Montpelier developers Brownfield Green – which specialises in church conversions – who put in a bid to redevelop the building last January when it was put out to tender.

The plan is to convert the church into two four-bedroom houses and three flats.

The character and quality of the building will be retained, but with an extension to the basement level under the church to increase floor area. The site's green spaces will also be saved, including the mature ash trees.

Developers say that initial work to tidy the site will commence in the next few weeks, with main construction due to start in the summer. They hope for the development to be completed by spring 2016.

Alex Fawcett, project manager at Brownfield Green, said: “We've tried to create a really sympathetic restoration and conversion of the site that takes on board a lot of local feedback that we've had over the past year.

“So far the response to our final proposals has been hugely positive.”

Siusanidh Hall, neighbour of the church for 30 years and secretary at PROD – set up to ensure any unsuitable developments on the site were stopped – previously told the Bishopston Voice that as long as the developers do not build high rise flats and keep it looking like a church, the group was happy with its redevelopment.

She said: “Thank goodness it's gone to Brownfield Green – I think they will do a good job of the site, and won't turn it into something awful.

“But I do urge local people, who are passionate about their area, to take an interest in the plans.”

The Bishopston Society and the Redland and Cotham Amenity Society have developed a local site development brief to help shape any proposals for the site.

New Church