Second bid to convert Bexhill church

St Andrew's Church
St Andrew's Church
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A controversial redevelopment site is back on the agenda as developers submit a new bid to demolish part of a church and turn it into flats.

Chameleon Refurbishments Ltd, owners of St Andrew’s Church in Wickham Avenue, wants to build 10 flats with parking facilities by partly knocking down the church.

A report by CLM Planning, which is acting as agents for developers, says the front section of the existing building would be kept.

The report reads: “The proposal is to incorporate the façade of the existing redundant church into a new building providing 10 two-bedroom flats over four floors.

“The church closed in December 2011. A new residential use is proposed for the site, which is a use which respects the use of immediate residential neighbours.

“The proposed building is three storeys high and relates well to the neighbouring terraced housing and height of buildings in the area generally.”

Last year a similar application was submitted to Rother District Council for a block of 12 apartments to be built on the site of St Andrew’s Church.

But it was withdrawn in August, 2014, following opposition from residents. Plans included the destruction of the main building, including stained glass windows in the east and west elevations.

A petition signed by 243 objectors from Wickham Avenue and the surrounding area was submitted to RDC against the bid.

The Victorian Society also objected to the previous application on the basis of the harm caused to the conservation area.

As the Observer went to press, no formal objections had been registered to the new bid.

St Andrew’s Church is located in one of two conservation areas in Bexhill and is an example of the Victorian architecture characteristic of the town.

The building, completed in 1900, was designed by architect J.B. Wall, who also constructed the Colonnade in front of the De La Warr Pavilion.

However, in the new application, CLM Planning said ‘neither the building nor Wickham Avenue’ are mentioned in the conservation area appraisal as special features.

Claiming the partial loss would ‘not be significant’, the report added: “The building although it has a pleasing façade is not an exemplar example of a late Victorian church.

“We conclude there is no overriding reason for historic, cultural or aesthetic reasons for the building as a whole to be retained.”

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