Congregational Church - a peek inside

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Geoff
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Congregational Church - a peek inside

Postby Geoff » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:12 am

On the corner of London Road and Pevensey Road, St Leonards Congregational Church is back on the market at £800k with planning permission to convert into a self contained flat and three holiday lets.

Originally built in 1863 and unused since 2008. The church is grade II listed.

The agent's photos give us the opportunity for a rare peek at the inside...

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Richard
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Re: Congregational Church - a peek inside

Postby Richard » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:55 pm

Yes Geoff!

I spoke to the man who purchased this property some years ago and the owner told me it had quite a few issues relating to planning permissions, maintenance and alterations.
The owner / developer (back then) indicated that he was being restricted by listed structures or decorations on the inner walls that could not be altered at all.
Planning permissions in 2018 to convert into a flat and holiday lets may still require original decorations to the internal walls be left unchanged and just one flat and some unspecified amount of holiday lets seems like there will still be challenges ahead at a starting price of 800K before work has even begun.
Externally the masonry may require expensive repairs as it is in a poor condition in parts.

Why not convert it into a number of flats instead of just one flat and some holiday lets?
It sounds like a huge minefield to me. I cannot see that planning permission demands that only one flat is built.

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Geoff
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Re: Congregational Church - a peek inside

Postby Geoff » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:26 am

Hi Richard. Yes definitely a money pit, but it could be profitable given the right development. I would much rather see it developed into something than left to decay as it is now.

My only guess on the choice of holiday lets is that they need some other sort of different planning permission that couldn't be achieved for all flats? When you think about it you can rent out a yurt or a caravan as a holiday let so maybe the construction doesn't need to be so permanent (as such) and retains the church features covered by the grade 2 listing. Just my guess.

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Richard
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Re: Congregational Church - a peek inside

Postby Richard » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:11 am

Hi Geoff,

The Church was bought by a lady called Ellen Gordon (a property developer from Stockwell, in London) in July 2012 assuming planning permissions would be granted on this Grade II listed building, to convert it into a space for the community, and a centre for different arts.
The roof in parts, the Tower, which seems to have lost its spire many years ago, and some of the stonework were letting in water and the windows needed repairing, the intention was to have the Church re-opened to the community after 18 months.
Conversion projects may be eligible for V.A.T. relief on materials and possibly labour, which at 20% of the cost of the project is not to be sneezed at.
Oddly enough holiday lets are not exempt which makes the latest idea even more expensive.

The current owner has been granted under planning HS/FA/12/00788 to convert to a self contained flat and three holiday lets.
Perhaps there are unknown reasons why only one flat could be allowed?
The whole process involves planning permission, listed building consent in addition to approval from the Church body and the Local Authority planning office.
There may be certain covenants in place and high ceilings and stained glass windows will mean heating costs could be rather high.
Not sure how much rewiring (or totally new wiring) might cost and the stamp duty additions all loom into sight also.

I hope something good comes out of this in the end though!
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St Leo's Church 1864.jpg


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