During the last couple of years, there had been rumours of various plans to change All Saints Church, both internally and externally. Some ideas that have been put forward have had a noticaeble change to the Church and have not all been good.
The removal of part of the Choir stalls to make space for live music resulted in Liverpool Cathedral asking for the entire set of stalls back (originally from the Lady Chapel) and now the Chancel is an empty space which gives no formality to the Chancel.
More recently, there were talks on moving the whole interior of the church 90 degrees and to make the altar towards the Salisbury Chapel. Thankfully, this idea has not come to fruition.
Meetings between the general public, parishioners and the PCC of the Church spoke of detailed plans for an extension to the Church and we were grateful for their time and trouble to inform us of the proposed changes - we are still grateful to the PCC as we were allowed to give our thoughts on the entire matter. However it has come to our attention that not everyone had been kept fully informed of the situation. Certainly there had been reports in the Parish Newsletter that a Planning Application would happen in the future, but many people within the Parish were still in the dark over this. And if one lived in Childwall, but outside of the Parish, it was a complete mystery.
Only by a chance viewing of the latest Planning Application listed on the City Council's website was I able to find out for myself what the proposals were. These are stated below:
To clarify the situation, the field between the Old and New Vicarage will be sold to a developer to build 4 detatched houses. There is no indication of the price of this land, whether this will be an 'open for all' sale or an already 'done deal'.
There will be 4 detached houses built on this land, again not specified if this went to the best tender or was an already 'done deal' by a private developer.
To demolish the Scout hut and disband with the Scouts completely from All Saints Church.
To extend the Church Hall with a new frontage/entrance area as well as refitting out the Kitchen and adding an additional story over the small hall.
To erect a single story circular building over the current graveyard which will be the new entrance to the Church. To remove a section of the Church's wall and removal of box pews within the Church. This will be on top of the current 60 grave plots.
3D views of all areas can be found here:
The Full design Statement can be found here:
Upon reviewing the information give, many questions were posed, and many answers surprised. A summary below of the points:
1. That the Gravestones will be removed to the Bloody Acre, but also the Grave plots will be exhumed to make way for the new building. "We believe that this will be the only way to avoid 'remains' when building the footing for the new Church building." There are no plans to detail how this will take place, whether the Bloody Acre will have to be consecreated, whether each Plot will be clearly marked (and whether any remains have moved with the graveyard being on a slant), whether any grave 'tenders' will be allow to oversee their family grave being moved, or whether there are any plans to create new grave plots to match each of the old plots.
What is also more disturbing is that the Planning Application was tendered to the Council BEFORE permission was granted from each grave 'owner'.
It is believed that the Church has written to the Grave Tenders but two things are apparent. a, There will be very few family members left from the 1930's still at the same address and b, this appears to be an after thought which for a Church is simply shocking. There also needs to be an Act of Parliament granted to remove human remains.
For anyone that knows the archaeological aspect of Childwall, there is lots of bedrock and as such, I believe there will be far more preserved remains that first thought.
2. That this new building will now be the MAIN entrance to the Church for everyone. Despite the current entrance of the Church being from the 15th Century, it is now proposed that the Church will have a new entrance half way down the Graveyard. This poses many questions. Will the elderly and infirm wish to walk half way down the Graveyard to get in to Church? Are there any plans to install new lighting in the winter/evening times? Would anyone wish to actually have to walk through a large Graveyard to get in to a Church? There are no plans showing a rail along this new path way. Will people have to walk this pathway unaided as it is a fair gradient. If a rail is installed on both sides, how will one access the current grave plots?
3. That this new building won't just be for a meeting place and toilets but now be used as a Servery. Despite the fact that the Church Hall has plans for a 'New industry standard kitchen and storage facilities to enable the church to grow further the ministry of hospitality that it seeks to offer the community, including the opportunity to offer for the first time conference and wedding catering' then why would anyone want a Grade 1 listed building smelling of food? Surely the new entrance will not be an old fashioned doorway but will have to serve as a fire door? Why would we want a fire door sitting under a stained glass window?
4. That more boxed pews will be removed from the Church. The proposed plans suggest that once the building is complete and that the entrance has been formed, Plumbes Chapel will now just be a walkway. However, currently in the South aisle, one can turn right towards the rear of the interior of the Church or left towards the altar, the pews in front will now be removed literally cutting the current box pews in to two. Again, space is limited in the Church, a Church which has very fine box pews (and rare), but this are now being taken out for more foot space.
The Press Release from the Vicar states that 'Pews will only need to be shortened' but page 25 of the above Design statement clearly shows further pews have been removed in the centre to allow a walkway from that of the new Porch to the main aisle.
A local resident has noted:
Proposal: To erect 4 no. detached houses - Location: All Saints Vicarage
"I am very concerned that there has been no consultations with the neighbours of the proposed redevelopment.
The overflow of parking from the church and church hall is very inconvenient to the homes in Ewden Close. We have litter problems, inconsiderate parking, blocked access, double parking. People parking on pavements etc. The existing parking cannot cope with the present level of vehicular traffic, It looks like the parish hall is going to become a major source of traffic with its use going up by a factor of ten. The expanded kitchen is merely an opportunity to provide catering for larger gatherings of a commercial nature, even a future licensed function.The facilities are more akin to a business centre with cafeteria which is simply not acceptable in the middle of the conservation area. It may be a suggestion that vehicular and pedestrian access be moved so that it is solely on Childwall Lane, away from Ewden Close.
Instead of building 4 houses out of "greed" this area should be committed to more parking. You only have to watch the use of the buildings presently and note that 98% of the users come in a car. The expansion of the facilities beggars belief for a small parish church in an area with a relatively sparse population. The building befits the use of an inner city area with a high density of poorly served population.The social activities of the Hall have already necessitated the use of banning and dispersal orders in the area because of gangs of youths congregating in the area.
On reviewing the plans further it is apparent that the large open area and the large kitchen will allow for commercial operations in the market of wedding receptions, 21st’s etc. I suspect this is one of the drivers and would have a financial impact on the well established Childwall Abbey Pub."
Proposal: To extend existing church hall demolish single storey entrance and scout hut and extend car park.
Proposal: To erect single storey extension to existing church building to be connected by a glazed link.
The Overview of the design for the Church Hall.
Should you wish to put your proposal and thoughts to the Planning Department, please quote application(s) 10O/1524 for the 4 Houses, 10F/1528 for the Church Hall plans and 10F/1530 for the Church Plans to - Planning, Millennium House, 60 Victoria Street, Liverpool, L1 6JP or e-mail them via this link:
The Overview of the Plans for the new Path/Circular Building and loss of Pews in the Church.
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