Future remains unclear for church

February 02 2015

A REDLAND church has been at the centre of recent heated debate.

A REDLAND church has been at the centre of recent heated debate.

Owners of the unused New Church in Cranbrook Road want its listing as an Asset of Community Value revoked, while a local community group feels that it is important that it maintains its status.

Buildings listed by the council as Assets of Community Value give the local community more say over its future.

However, the General Conference of the New Church wants the listing re-appealed before it is sold to developers Brownfield Green.

The building was put to tender last January, calling for developers to bid for future ownership.

Brownfield Green, based in Redland Road, won the bid but are still waiting for the decision to be made over its status before the deal can be finalised.

Interested parties are still awaiting a decision from the tribunal, which took place on January 23.

Alex Fawcett, project manager at Brownfield Green, said: "We're still really keen to purchase the site but the New Church have been very slow in progressing the sale.

"Our proposals for the site are all in place and ready to go. We intend to convert the existing church into houses and flats, and not build on the green spaces surrounding the church.

"It is a very low impact scheme which will renovate the existing building and retain much of the 'wild' space to the rear of the site.

"To date we have consulted with Protecting Redland from Over Development (PROD) but as soon as the purchase has finally completed we will be undertaking further consultations with the local community."

PROD was set up to ensure that any unsuitable developments on the site were stopped. However, the group says that it is happy for Brownfield Green to redevelop the church.

Siusanidh Hall, secretary at PROD and neighbour of the church for 30 years, said: "It is important to stress that we are not against anyone developing the church - we are more than happy to work alongside the developers.

"As long as they don't build high-rise flats, and keep it looking like a church, with the surrounding green spaces in tact, then we are happy."

Besides being previously used as a church, the building was regularly used as a polling station and has hosted mother and toddle groups, dance classes and Brownies. The church closed in October 2013.  

New Church in Cranbrook Road