Parish Centre

Our new parish centre – the journey so far… 

Moving forward

We are pleased to be able to report that the exciting plans for the building of our new Parish Centre have now moved on significantly.  A successful public consultation held in November gave us the opportunity to meet and discuss these plans with a number of interested parties and our neighbours.  We were very appreciative of everyone’s time, consideration and helpful comments which generally signified an enthusiastic and positive response.

We are now awaiting the result of our planning permission application which has recently been submitted and we look forward, once this has been granted, to moving forward with our fund raising strategies.

Our architect’s computer generated images shown below give a flavour of our vision for the new Parish Centre designed to benefit St John’s and all Southdown residents. 

New Parish Hall: Entrance image
New Parish Centre: Cafe render

We look forward with eager anticipation to reporting on further progress as our hopes now begin to take shape.

Background

Our church hall is reaching the end of its life in its current form, and we are excited by the opportunity this offers to make a real difference to our ministry and mission in the parish. In November 2016, following several months of consultation with existing hall users, representatives from the local council and the church advisory body, together with extensive research into the experiences of other local churches and investigations into possible sources of funding, a small steering group presented their findings to the Standing Committee and then the PCC.  This detailed report outlined a number of possible options for consideration.  After weighing all the factors carefully, there was overall agreement that the most appropriate option at this point in time, and the one that is in line with our Mission Action Plan, is to replace our old church hall with a brand new Parish Centre.  

This is an ambitious undertaking for our church and for our community, yet it is an inspiring project which will enable us to support each other more effectively in the coming years.  

Timeline 

In February 2017, we commissioned MEB Design Ltd to work with us on the first stage in the process, developing a feasibility study. A small technical team worked with MEB over the spring and summer months to develop a number of options to meet the brief. 

In June 2017, Mark Eddison, our architect, presented an overview of the process to date, together with the details of eight options, and two short-listed options, A & B; one single storey, one two storey building, both connecting into the church near the pulpit. The presentation was followed by a three-week consultation period. 

In September 2017, with a new project name symbolising regeneration and renewal, the Parish Centre, aka Project Phoenix, completed its first major milestone, as MEB delivered the feasibility study.  This was then submitted to the PCC by the technical team with their recommendations.  

In October 2017, the PCC endorsed the technical team’s recommendation to progress option A - the two-storey option - based on cost, practicality and reduced impact on the external space.

In November 2018 we held a public consultation session; then applied to the council for planning permission and began the exciting task of fund-raising.  Watch this space!