His­toric church is placed on ‘risk’ list

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

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

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