74-76 High Road, Chadwell Heath, RM6 6PP

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is the Church planning to redevelop the site, can’t they just fix the current building?

The current church building and the two halls behind it are in need of repair. The Church carried out a ‘Building Condition Survey’ (a detailed inspection of the buildings to review their condition and see which parts need maintenance and repair). The survey calculated the cost just to maintain and repair the buildings to be half a million pounds (£0.5m). This would be without making any improvements such as disabled access. It will cost too much money to just repair the buildings as they are, so an alternative plan to fund the work has to be taken.
There has been little to no major investment in the structure of the church and hall buildings for the past 40-50 years. This means that there are now a lot of issues that need to be fixed in order for it to be made safe. If no repair work is carried out to the church it will only be able to be used safely for about five more years. The two halls are in a worse state, and will only be able to stay open for two to three years. Without these halls the church will lose the income it gets from them being hired out, this money is vital for the running of its operations.
The Church’s plan to build flats on the site is the only way to raise enough money to fund keeping a church building on the current site. It will also allow the Church to provide more space for the community and community activities. The Church will use the money from the sale of the flats to pay for the building work, ensuring it can keep doing work for the community as it has for the last 113 years. The Church will not make a profit from the development and it is hoped to be a cost neutral development.

Why can’t the Church just get the money for the repairs?

For Baptist Churches in the UK (like Chadwell Heath Baptist Church) there is no central funding body (unlike a Church of England church). This means that any costs have to be paid for by each church's own finances. Chadwell Heath Baptist Church does not have enough money to pay for the £0.5m repairs and there is not enough time to raise that amount from income such as hire of the halls (it would take decades), as they will have to be closed in two-three years due to their conditions.
The Church also can’t take on a bank loan of £0.5m as it doesn’t have sufficient income to service a loan of that size. Interest on the loan repayment would also make the cost much higher. The Church simply wouldn’t be loaned that amount from a commercial bank.
The only way to get enough money to keep the church and community space on the site is through the sale of flats. Without this money the Church will have to close, leave the site and sell it on.

What will the site have on it once the development is completed?

At the moment the site has a church, two halls and office space for the church. The plans for the development will mean there will be a number of spaces that can be used by the church and community. These include a new main hall, a second hall space, new meeting rooms, and a new landscaped garden (available for the community and users of the new extended community spaces), a flexible space that could be used by the public for community activities and coworking, a new office for the church and 20 flats.

How many flats will be built on the site?

There will be a total of 20 flats built, 13 of them will be 1 bedroom flats and 7 will be 2 bedroom flats. The number of flats planned for the site is determined by what it will cost to make the scheme viable and not by how many flats can be built on the site for a profit.

Is the Church just trying to make a profit from the sale of new flats?

No. The Church will not make a profit on the sale of the flats. The Church has carefully considered the financial viability of the development and is seeking consent for 20 new flats, as this is the level at which the redevelopment is viable and the surplus generated by the residential element is required to fund the church redevelopment. The venture is not making any profit and the church will develop this scheme as soon as is practicable as the new accommodation is so desperately needed. The church is not carrying out a ‘speculative’ exercise and will not seek to exploit the site, but simply provide enough new apartments to fund the new redevelopment of the community asset.

Won’t the development put pressure on local services such as schools and doctors?

The Government, the Mayor of London and the local Council (the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham) all support and encourage the building of more homes. This is set out in various national policies, the London Plan (a document that sets out the Mayor of London’s policies for London) and Local Plan. The flats planned for this development will mean that there are more houses and therefore more people living in Chadwell Heath. The Church will be paying what is called a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to the local council. This money is then used by the local council to fund infrastructure, facilities and services - such as schools or transport improvements to support the new homes.

How will this plan protect a community asset for Chadwell Heath?

The proposal for the site will maintain, improve and provide an Asset of Community Value (ACV) for Chadwell Heath. Across the country a lot of Assets of Community Value are disappearing at an extraordinary pace. Local councils are keen to keep as many open and available to the public as possible. The site will retain what is termed as D1 use class space (buildings and spaces in them are given labels to determine what they can be used for). D1 space is space that can be used for non-residential institutions such as clinics, health centres, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries, museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls etc. In the UK the number of spaces classed as D1 is in decline. It is important that this plan looks to maintain D1 space on this site. The development will make a massive investment in securing, preserving and extending the current provision and will bring buildings that are not ‘fit for purpose’ into a modern flexible state, better serving the community.

I can’t see any parking spaces on the plans, where will people park?

The local planning authority will insist the development is ‘car-free’, which is in line with Government measures to reduce reliance on private cars and utilise sustainable travel methods. There will however be space for safe bike storage on the site. The Church site is roughly 500 metres from Chadwell Heath train station and there are five bus routes and bus stops nearby. The site has a Public Transport Accessibility Level of 3 (an average score for access to public transport). The local council’s parking policy insists upon car free developments in ‘areas of higher public transport accessibility levels’. The parking policy in the London Plan says there should be a balance between ‘promoting new development and preventing excessive car parking provision that can undermine cycling, walking and public transport use.’