September 25th, 2016

Church could be demolished for housing

Church could be demolished for housing Church could be demolished for housing
Updated: 10:10 am, May 07, 2015

PART of Redditch’s history could be demolished to make way for housing.

Headless Cross Methodist Church, which opened in 1897, could be bulldozed and replaced with terraced houses under new plans.

The Evesham Road church was closed in 2009 due to the cost of repairing the building which was discovered to have dry rot.

Despite £100,000 being raised by a steering group for new premises, more money was needed and it was decided the congregation would join with nearby St Luke’s as an Ecumenical Church called The Bridge.

The building was sold to a developer in April this year and the current owner has now put forward an application to Redditch Borough Council to transform the site into nine, three bedroom homes.

The proposal includes two separate blocks of houses, with the first facing onto Evesham Road, while the second building would be at the back of the site on land which was previously a car park belonging to the church.

Steve Miller, the applicant’s agent, said the cost of restoring the partly derelict building would have been ‘colossal’.

“There’s a lot of dry rot, wet rot and wood worm.” he said.

“The cost of restoring it would have been quite colossal and there’s no money available to help through grants as the building isn’t listed.

“It had been on the market for quite a long time and in this case the applicant is quite new to redevelopment, and was looking for something that was affordable and in a good residential area.”

He added although the building would be demolished, the spire which is of historical interest, would be salvaged and could be sold on for use elsewhere.

But Coun Carole Gandy, who represents Headless Cross and Oakenshaw, said the spire was iconic to that area of town and should belong to the residents.

“We would want to try and keep it in Headless Cross because it is part of its history.” she said.

“I would be concerned about it being sold on, it belongs to the people of Redditch when the church was gifted to the town all those years ago and the spire is part of the building.

“I would not want to see anyone making a profit from it, it seems immoral to me.”