Lee church starts to knock down Victorian almshouses in 'act of vandalism'

News Shopper: Lee church starts to knock down Victorian almshouses in 'act of vandalism' Lee church starts to knock down Victorian almshouses in 'act of vandalism'

A CHURCH has provoked anger after starting to knock down a locally-listed group of almshouses dating back to Victorian times.

Contractors working for the Emmanuel Pentecostal Church began last week to demolish a range of Lee High Road almshouses built in 1875 by the Merchant Taylors’ Company for Christopher Boone’s charity.

Back in 2012, Lewisham Council agreed to a request by the Lee Manor Society to locally list the buildings due to their historic and architectural value. But, crucially, a local listing does not prevent demolition taking place.

Chairman of the Lee Manor Society Charles Batchelor said: "This is an act of vandalism by the church authorities who are seeking to carry out a hugely commercial development on an historic site. Lewisham Council must take immediate action to prevent the loss of yet another part of the borough’s architectural heritage."

The council turned down a request to apply an 'article 4' declaration, which would prevent any changes until there is local authority approval.

Mr Batchelor said: "The council says that the existing buildings, the almshouses, will be a material consideration in considering a future planning application. But if the almshouses have been demolished how can they be taken into consideration? This is a nonsense."

A previous plan by the church to turn the site- called The Manse - into a four-storey complex with community facilities, a creche, restaurant and offices was withdrawn in 2012.

A spokesman for Lewisham Council said: “"The council received notification of the proposed demolition of 372, 378 and 380 Lee High Road in January.

“The legislation allows the council 28 days to determine if the method of demolition requires prior approval, which has been the case with this proposal.

“The  prior approval process provides a greater timescale in which the council can examine the details of the demolition proposal, including the restoration of the site following the proposed demolition.

“Planning officers have made it clear to the applicants that works should not be carried out until that process has taken place."

The church was unavailable for comment.

Comments (4)

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11:48pm Mon 24 Feb 14

sarfflondonbird says...

Bet the church will win, it's bound to isn't it being a pentiscodtal one. How sad that more history will no doubtbe turned to rubble and another ugly looking building put in place, and all for the purpose of greed.
Bet the church will win, it's bound to isn't it being a pentiscodtal one. How sad that more history will no doubtbe turned to rubble and another ugly looking building put in place, and all for the purpose of greed. sarfflondonbird

1:33pm Tue 25 Feb 14

MrDawson says...

Not only have they previously painted the main stone tower of the church an horrendous and less than complementing shade of grey, the church is now flagrantly going against planning regulation and commencing demolition of a piece of Lee history. Whilst a car park is needed for the all those visitors that jam up Lee High Road and do 3-point turns on the busy road, it should be done at the expense of local heritage. Even churches must adhere to planning regulations.
Not only have they previously painted the main stone tower of the church an horrendous and less than complementing shade of grey, the church is now flagrantly going against planning regulation and commencing demolition of a piece of Lee history. Whilst a car park is needed for the all those visitors that jam up Lee High Road and do 3-point turns on the busy road, it should be done at the expense of local heritage. Even churches must adhere to planning regulations. MrDawson

3:04pm Tue 25 Feb 14

the wall says...

Almshouses- Charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community.


Nice Christian attitude to the community, think someone has become overpowed by the Holy Spirit.
Almshouses- Charitable housing provided to enable people (typically elderly people who can no longer work to earn enough to pay rent) to live in a particular community. Nice Christian attitude to the community, think someone has become overpowed by the Holy Spirit. the wall

7:16pm Thu 27 Feb 14

paulbexleyheath says...

take that church down as well it looks like its from a council estate . may as well have pebble dashed and a nice bit of cladding. its hideous
take that church down as well it looks like its from a council estate . may as well have pebble dashed and a nice bit of cladding. its hideous paulbexleyheath

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