June 18 2013 Latest news:
by Amanda Nunn
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Residents have reacted angrily to plans to pull down a church in Seven Kings and redevelop the site after running costs became too high.
They have started a petition which has more than 100 signatures so far.
Seven Kings Methodist Church, Balmoral Gardens, was built in 1905 but heating costs and a small congregation have made it increasingly unmanageable, according to church officials.
But residents say the church is an important landmark and is significant to the numerous people who have had their weddings or christenings there.
Axel Sundargi, 36, of Balmoral Gardens, said he celebrated his 21st birthday there and five people in his family were married there.
He said: “It’s a local landmark, there’s nothing else other than the train station in Seven Kings. They’ve sent letters out to people on Balmoral Gardens but it’s not just about the road, it will affect the whole community.”
The church has applied to Redbridge Council to build about 20 flats with the possibility of a library and café. A new church would also be built.
Mr Sundargi said he has written to object to the plan.
He said: “They’re relying on the fact that people won’t talk to each other. By the time people realise what’s happening it will be too late. When people don’t realise what’s going on they can’t do anything about it.”
Residents are concerned over the impact the additional housing will have. Sandy Sandhu, 61, of Vernon Road, said: “We don’t want a four storey building with 20 flats in the area. It’s not going to be a pleasant environment to live in.”
Steve Poole, superintendent of the church when previously speaking to the Recorder, said: “About 30 people attend the church so it’s not a particularly big congregation but obviously it is sad for people who have been attending the church for a long time. There’s a real need for community space.”