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Workers to start rebuilding new City Gates Christian Centre after sudden 2012 collapse

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:26 11 September 2014

A wrecked fork lift truck is lifted from the City Gates site

A wrecked fork lift truck is lifted from the City Gates site

Archant

The borough was rocked by the news of the City Gates Christian centre’s collapse a little more than two and a half years ago.

 The collapsed City Gates Christian centre Clements Road, Ilford The collapsed City Gates Christian centre Clements Road, Ilford

But next week contractors move in to clear debris on the site as they begin work once again on the £7.5 million five storey development.

On January 31 2012, the under construction building in Clements Road, Ilford, came unexpectedly crashing to the ground.

Fortunately no one was seriously hurt - even though 20 workmen had left the site just minutes before the collapse.

Nevertheless it has been a long road back for church pastor Stephen Derbyshire and his 1,200 strong congregation.

 Steven Derbyshire, the pastor of the City Gates church standing in front of the site of the collapsed building Steven Derbyshire, the pastor of the City Gates church standing in front of the site of the collapsed building

“I am excited and relived that is all sorted,” said Mr Derbyshire. “This has been the biggest challenge in my ministry without any question.

“It has been a huge thing to have to deal with.”

The original project was funded entirely by congregation members.

The Christian centre has, though, managed to successfully claim back most of the money via insurance.

The cause of the collapse took months to work out, but Mr Derbyshire says the real reasons are now known.

“When the big metal girder fell the building should have been strong enough to withstand that initial collapse, but that collapse revealed the building was weak as well,” he said.

The redevelopment work is expected to last 60 weeks, and will be finished by December 2015.

The centre has been forced to use the Cineworld, also in Clements Road, to conduct services on Sunday since the collapse.

“I knew that we were going to get to this stage but it has taken longer than expected,” added Mr Derbyshire.

“It is going to be an impressive five storey building.”


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