Campaign starts to save church - The Redditch Standard

Campaign starts to save church

Redditch Editorial 19th Dec, 2014 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016   0

A CAMPAIGN has been launched by a national charity to stop a Redditch church from being demolished.

Headless Cross Methodist Church, which opened in 1897, could face the bulldozer if Redditch Borough Council approves an application to replace it with terraced houses.

Although the plans seek approval to build homes on the Evesham Road site, the owners do not need permission to demolish it.

The church 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 plans to transform the site into nine, three bedroom homes.

But the Victorian Society is now opposing the application in the hope the church can be saved and adapted for a new use.

They are also urging residents to object, with a particular focus on rescuing the landmark spire.

The trust is also asking for a survey of the building after Worcestershire Wildlife Trust said if the church contained a bat roost it would be illegal to demolish the building without a licence.

Tim Bridges, Victorian Society conservation advisor, said: “In our view, this former church – and particularly the tower and spire – is a locally listed building worthy of retention and should be sensitively adapted to a new use.

“The developers have indicated that re-use of the building would simply be too expensive. However, many similar buildings are successfully repurposed and it is our understanding that the dry rot would be treatable.

“I would urge local people to object to the application.”

The Standard approached the applicant’s agent for a response but he declined to comment.

Anyone wishing to comment on the plans should write to Harjap Rajwanshi MRTPI, Planning and Regeneration Services, Redditch Borough Council, Town Hall, Walter Stranz Square, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 8AH.

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