Historic church is placed on ‘risk’ list
AHISTORIC Southport church has been placed on the “At Risk” register by Heritage England with major repair work needed.
An attempt has now begun to protect the roof the Community Church, on Southbank Road, after more than 100 years passed with no significant repair work carried out.
Temporary measures have been carried out to ensure the short-term safety of the roof, although building surveys have revealed the extent of the major work required.
As a result of years of neglect, ageing and defective roof coverings have allowed water to enter the structure and cause the structural roof timbers to rot.
If untreated, it is reported that not only will the building’s condition continue to deteriorate, it will also begin to pose a threat to public safety.
The Grade II listed building was built in 1888 and was originally a major community centre for the area, with a bus service stopping directly outside and tram line running along the street.
According to Harry Pickett, the church’s building assistant, there were once even plans to extend the building to be able to house 5,000 people.
Those running the church now also offer a variety of community activities, such as baby and children’s groups, and are keen to retain such vital services.
An application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is now under way to access vital money which would allow the work to be carried out and guarantee the safety of the building.
Mr Pickett said that the church was successful in an initial stage of the application and was awaiting a final decision in early 2019.
A planning application has also been submitted to Sefton Council outlining the work that is needed.
Mr Pickett said that it was “essential” that the work is done for the sake of the heritage of the building.
He also said that those at the church are hoping to lead projects to get people engaged with heritage, including groups of adults with learning difficulties and primary schools.
He said: “When you look at that history of being a hub for the community, that’s something we’re trying to resurrect.
“It is a risk that if not treated, the roof will fall into a state of disrepair.
“It’s hugely important that we can do this work, not only for the heritage but also for the groups that use the building.”
The Community Church on Southbank Road needs major repairs