May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Amanda Nunn
Friday, August 17, 2012
A man who campaigned to stop a church in Seven Kings being demolished says he is elated after the plans were rejected.
Axel Sundarji wanted to prevent Seven Kings Methodist Church being replaced by a smaller church with flats and a possible café.
Church officials have said the rising costs of maintaining the building in Balmoral Gardens, together with low congregation numbers, made the church unsustainable.
Mr Sundarji said of the decision: “I was absolutely elated. The voice of the people has been heard. It’s not just the voice of the community, it’s also the right thing for Seven Kings town centre.”
Redbridge Council rejected the application for outline planning permission as the 1905 building is considered historically significant. The loss of the church was seen as detrimental to the character of the town centre.
A number of representations were made against the plans including a petition with about 2,000 names.
Mr Sundarji, of Balmoral Gardens, said: “The council has done the right thing. I thought it was the right thing to do to let people know that we will lose a landmark and a heritage site.”
The campaign included a website which has had more than 2,800 visitors and a Facebook page.
Mr Sundarji now plans to turn his attention to the low congregation numbers and the repairs that are necessary for the church.
He said: “We need to register the church with English Heritage and find ways of doing the repairs. It [the church] belongs to the community.”
No one from the church was available for comment.