AMBITIOUS but controversial plans by the local diocese in Studley to sell its parish centre and adjoining land to finance the purchase of the village’s Studley Centre have been shelved.
The Reverend David Silvester, vicar of Studley Church, said the sums simply did not add up and it was for that reason, and that reason alone, that the Church had withdrawn from the bidding process for the property.
The plans had envisaged the creation of a village cafe, drop-in centre for local youngsters and an outreach centre, as well as a host of other facilities for local people. However, the cost of repairing the Studley Centre came in at £350,000 and with an expected asking price of £250,000 for the building itself, the Church suddenly found itself being asked to find more than £600,000 to put their proposals into action.
“The most we could hope for from the sale of the parish centre was £450,000,” said Rev Silvester. “This was the only resource we had and we knew the figures would be tight but we simply could not proceed on that basis.”
However he said they were still hoping and praying that the building, which is owned by Warwickshire Council, might yet be either given to them or rented for a peppercorn rate if a buyer fails to come forward.
“We have put together a very exciting plan and although the sums do not add up, we have still not entirely withdrawn them,” said Rev Silvester.
Many villagers had objected to the sale of the parish centre, a much-loved building dating back more than 100 years, but which the Church had outgrown.
Campaigners started a petition, collecting 700 signatures, and last week handed it over to district councillor Hazel Wright.
A further online petition attracted some 300 signatures.