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Church Commissioners want to demolish beautiful Essex church despite viable scheme

St Peter and St Paul's church in Birch near Colchester in Essex is a 1850 Grade II listed church by one of the great Victorian Gothic revival architects, SS Teulon, which was closed in 1990 has been crumbling and rotting away for 20 years. In 2012 the Victorian Society was so alarmed by its condition and the suggestion that it should be demolished that it was named one of the Victorian Society's most endangered buildings.

In a last minute reprieve, potential new owners have offered to take it on and restore and convert it into a home.

However, despite this offer, the Church Commissioners are refusing to allow the church to be redeveloped and are pursuing their plans to demolish it.

Tom Ashley, Churches Conservation Adviser at the Victorian Society, said: "We are mystified at the decision of the Church Commissioners to press ahead with the demolition of St Peter's, a beautiful and nationally important building, when, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Colchester & North East Essex Building Trust and the generous commitment of the potential buyers, there is now a viable scheme for its preservation."

The Victorian Society does not understand the Diocese of Chelmsford's objections to the rescue plan, which has been drawn up by experienced and knowledgeable buyers, who have provided financial assurances of the viability of their plan and who have the support of Colchester & North East Essex Building Trust and 90% of the local community.

The Victorian Society, alongside the Ancient Monuments Society, English Heritage and Colchester Borough Council, has objected to demolition and urges the Church Commissioners to reject demolition of St Peter's.

 

Tuesday 4 February, 2014

More recent item: Public inquiry into proposed partial demolition of Smithfield General Market to start on Tues 11 Feb
Earlier item: Fine row of Victorian houses in Whitechapel to be demolished by Tower Hamlets

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