St Aldate’s vicarage which was no longer needed by the church, and the church hall which had fallen into disrepair and was no longer used by the local community, have been demolished to make way for 23 affordable homes.
The plan was created by the Diocese of Gloucester in partnership with Rooftop Housing, a charitable association focusing on provision of affordable housing for all household types and needs.
When the plan was originally put forward, the local community opposed it, led by a community group called the White City Action Group (WCAG) which hoped to save the church hall. However after commissioning an independent review, the local group also came to the conclusion that the church hall was beyond economical repair and that a modern, purpose-built community facility would be a better option.
The Diocese was very keen to work closely with the WCAG to ensure that community needs were being met through this project. It has resulted in a close partnership with the community in the surrounding area and the Diocese of Gloucester is donating the proceeds of the land sale to WCAG. This money will be used to kick-start a fundraising campaign to build a new community hall on a nearby council-owned site.
This is the second affordable housing scheme partnership between the Diocese of Gloucester and Rooftops Housing, with a previous scheme at on the site of St Stephen’s Vicarage being completed in 2014.
The Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Robert Springett said: “A place to call home is precious, something we all need, space to be ourselves, to be with family and friends, to relax. Lack of affordable housing is a real problem in this country, meaning that more and more people are priced out of home ownership or the rental market each year. Unless we tackle this problem head on, by creating socially responsible developments, the issue of low housing stock is only going to get worse.
“This is why I am delighted that we are again working with Rooftop Housing in a partnership that will provide affordable housing, homes for people to live. This is all part of our commitment as a Diocese to be promoting life in all its fullness, the life that Jesus promises, for everyone and a wonderful way in which the local church can continue to serve the local community.”
The development will include 12 apartments, two bungalows and nine family homes. 20 of the homes will be for affordable rent (up to 80% market rent) and three will be shared ownership.