Following almost four years of hard work by a team drawn from the congregation of Saint Augustine's church, Knightstone Housing Association will now re-develop the site with a church worship and community centre alongside affordable housing in a deal brokered by Colliers International’s Consulting and Agency team on behalf of the Bristol Diocesan Board of Finance.
Simultaneously, Knightstone and the Diocese have entered into construction contracts with Seddon who will build the new homes, church and community complex on their behalf.
The church on the corner of Whitchurch Lane and East Dundry Road, has been derelict for years with the congregation moving over the road to worship at Bridge Farm School.
As part of the development the existing semi-derelict church and vicarage on the site will be demolished.
Rev Canon Nick Hay said he was excited the deal to re-develop the site had finally got over the line.
“We have been on the case for about three and a half years and are delighted the deal has finally happened. We will be cracking open a bottle of Champagne at the church service this Sunday.”
Chris Dawson from Colliers International said the church and adjoining vicarage buildings were in extremely poor condition and in need of demolition in order for a new build scheme to be realised.
He said “We were tasked with structuring a deal that provided a new church worship and community centre from sale funds.
“Following initial marketing the purchaser and developer were identified and detailed terms agreed. Since then all parties and their advisors have worked long and hard to turn an in principle agreement into an exciting and viable project.
“This included obtaining planning permission, secured for both the residential development and CW&CC by Oxford Architects, and the agreement of a detailed specification for the CW&CC by the Dickson Powell Partnership”.
“This is a key site not just for the churchgoers and immediate residents, but also for the hundreds of commuters who pass this landmark building every day.”
Built in 1972 at the crossroads of Whitchurch Lane, Fortfield Road and East Dundry Lane, the boldly designed church and vicarage with its steeply pitched opposing rooflines became an instant talking point as well as a familiar landmark across South Bristol.
But it was immediately dogged by structural problems which culminated in the distinctive bell tower being taken down because it was unstable. The theft of lead from the church roof resulted in serious leaks and the church was finally declared unsafe in 2007 and closed.
Knightstone’s Project Manager John Kearney commented: “There is a pressing local need for affordable housing and our mixed scheme will help meet that demand.”