Fulwood chapel bulldozed to make way for new community site
A Fulwood community chapel has been demolished for a new community development that will see affordable housing and a new chapel built in its place.
St. Martins Chapel on Broadway has begun being demolished as the vacated land will be given over to a new community parish hall and affordable housing for over-55s.
In June 2020, Preston City Council’s planning committee approved the new facility on the site, which will see five shared ownership properties, nine apartments and an associated car park erected.
Planning permission was granted on November 12 of last year, under conditions that an appropriate surface water drainage scheme was implemented.
And demolition work began earlier this week to make way for the new development, set to meet the needs of the community after the 1950's parish was deemed 'no longer fit for purpose' by developers.
The development, managed by Paddock Johnson, will see a new flexible parish hall erected supporting a range of activities for use by the community.
Councillor Peter Moss, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member planning and regulation, said: “The start of this work follows resolution to approve the application to develop at St Martin’s Chapel in June 2020. Planning permission was granted in November, albeit with some pre-commencement conditions attached.
“The developer at this site has been very pro-active and had already satisfied those pre-commencement conditions by January 2021.
“We’re extremely pleased to see the prompt action of the developer and when complete we’re sure the accommodation will be a great asset to the community.”
The developer website reads: "Paddock Johnson was appointed to design a new community parish hall and affordable housing on the site of St Martins Parish Hall. The Parish sought to redevelop the site to provide as many social benefits as possible through the provision of a new Parish Chapel together with new affordable housing.
"In order to meet the needs of the expanding and thriving area, the new community parish hall needed to be as flexible as possible, in order to support a range of activities and allow multiple groups to use the building at the same time."
Crippling financial costs of energy and repairs are what initially shut St Martin's Chapel in September of 2019, with Broughton Parish arguing the new arrangement was the only way it could afford to continue operating from the location.
The building required immediate repairs totalling £150,000 just to meet the electricity regulations along with energy costs of £1,200 per month before its closure.
But more than 200 objections were lodged to the initial proposals last year, with concerns focused on the loss of a popular bowling green on the site - and whether the replacement buildings could accommodate all the groups which used its predecessor.
Objectors last year argued the public and community 'were not given the opportunity to fundraise' and that there would be 'little community fellowship left in the area.'
But Canon Andrea Titterington, a lay minister for the Church of England parish, said it had explored all possible options and undertaken a public consultation into its plans - but had been left with no choice other than demolition.
Speaking last March, she added: "The design for the new building was based upon the community groups that previously used it - and that’s why most of them can be accommodated. Several groups have already contacted us about coming back."
“The parish and community will benefit [from the plans] - this is not the loss of a community facility.”
More information on the development is available here.
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