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Battle lines drawn over future of community hall

By Maryam_Qaiser  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

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St Aldate's Church in Gloucester

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RESIDENTS in White City have stepped up their campaign to save their community hall.

Those living near St Aldates hall and gardens at the junction of Finlay Road and Reservoir Road have set up a Facebook group to stop it from being demolished.

However Reverend Canon Dr Mike Parsons priest for the St Oswald’s, Coney Hill and St Aldate area, said it was vital the building came down to allow funds to be used for the church.

This will allow £200,000 to be spent on transforming the church into a community centre.

Some money would also come from grants.

Bosses at St Aldate’s Church want the building to become a centre used by groups from across Gloucester.

At the moment the church is only used by a few worshippers and religious speaking groups.

Dr Parsons said: “We are hoping clubs will be held in the new community space, such as toddlers and art groups. It will still be used for religious services.

We would also welcome music bands who need a space to practice. Luckily nobody nearby would complain about the nose.

“The community hall at the back of the building is taking up too much space, so we want to knock this down and use the money to redevelop the church. We did a survey and it would cost us £100,000 to revamp the hall.”

Housing association Rooftop wants to build homes on the adjoining vicarage and church hall sites.

Dr Parsons said: “Rooftop Housing will be submitting a planning application in shortly.

“We hope to start work on the church in the next nine to 12 months.

“This will include placing a new heating system and insulation will need to be put in too. At the moment it is appalling because it is an old building.

“Without doubt I think affordable housing in this area is very much needed as is a community centre.

“Rooftop Housing completed a similar project in Linden which was successful.”

Two consultations were held where the church and Rooftop Housing discussed plans with residents earlier this year.

Visitors sat in groups to discuss the plans and comment on what they liked and didn’t like about the plans.

A large majority of the people said they would visit the new centre regularly.

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  • Kay_Powell  |  January 08 2014, 4:19PM

    This is quite interesting, as when I attended a presentation about the plans at the end of April last year, there didn't seem to be any local opposition. Community groups were virtually lining up to use the proposed new facilities at the church. It's a shame that there is no community hall in the White City area, but there are plenty of halls that are available for community use: St. Aldate's Church, St. Barnabas' Church halls (large and small), the hall at One Church (The Butts). I believe that there is also still a hall available at Finlay Road School, isn't there?

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