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Faithspace

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Save the Faithspace building - final cmpaign update (October 2016)

The Faithspace Building has been saved from being sold for residential development. The Methodist Church has confirmed that the building has been sold to St.Thomas Mar Thoma Church. The building will be the new home for their church when the sale completes - expected by the end of 2016.

SCDA has met with members of the new church and asked if they will continue to allow the local community to use the church hall. The new owners have confirmed that they will consider community use of the building when the sale has been completed and they have been able to move into the building. We hope that the community will be welcomed back into the buidling by the new owners.

Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign to save the Faithspace building.

 

Save the FaithSpace building - campaign update (Wednesday 8 June 2016)

The SCDA has been notified that an announcement on the new owners of the former FaithSpace building will be made on Thursday 9 June. We have not been able to officially informed of the new owner, but we understand that the building is not being sold for residential development. Tune into BBC Radio Bristol on Thursday 9 June, around 8.20am to listen out for more news.

 

Save the FaithSpace building - campaign update (Sunday 28 February)

Many of you will have seen that the FaithSpace building is now publicly in the market:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-57996044.html

Bids need to be receieved by Monday 11 April.

Public Meeting

The campaign team are going to hold a public meeting on Tuesday 8th March, 7:30pm at Southville Primary School. This is to give people an update on what we know, see if anyone has any ideas we haven’t thought of yet, and decide what can still be done at this stage.

Survey

Thanks to everyone who completed our community fundraising survey. We have received over 50 responses, which show that a lot of people would be willing to make donations to help keep the building for community use. However, the majority of donations offered were under £500 – which suggests it would be very difficult to raise the funds needed to purchase the building.

We estimate from the survey that we could quite easily raise up to £20k from community fundraising. Community shareholding or social bond schemes would increase this amount slightly – but would still be a very long way short of what would be needed to purchase the building. However, if a community organisation is able to purchase the building, a fund of £20k could be extremely valuable to help get the building up and running again.

City Council

It is now clear that the Council is not interested in purchasing the building, or providing finance to support a community purchase. The Council’s approaches to the Methodists have not resulted in any change to the process of the sale.

Our lobbying has ensured that the Council has stated very strongly that they will look to keep in place the restrictive covenant on the property, which should deter some developers. The stance of the Methodists does seem to have softened slightly – in that their most recent statements have suggested they will give some regard to the intended use of the building, and not just the highest price.

Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church has confirmed that they are intending to make a bid to purchase the building. If successful they have committed to maintain community use of the building. The Russian Orthodox Church has stated that they would like Southville Community Development Association (SCDA) to manage the community spaces in the building. No arrangement or agreement has been made between the Russian Orthodox Church and SCDA, but they continue to have dialogue.  The campaign group are exploring with them whether there is any more that the community can do to support their bid.

Other potential purchasers

SCDA have held discussions with the Ethical Property Company to see if they could purchase the building and lease the building to them. Unfortunately, we now know that the Ethical Property Company will not be able to make a bid to purchase the building within the given timescale. SCDA are still investigating whether short-term bridging finance to EPC from the Council might enable this to go ahead – but it does seem unlikely that terms acceptable to both the Council and EPC can be found.

Since the building went on the market, SCDA has been approached by several private developers with an interest in developing the property for mixed residential/community development. SCDA remain committed to the campaign to save the building for community use, and will continue to work to try and achieve this goal. SCDA is not supporting any plans for residential use of the building at this time.

 

Previous campaign update (Monday 8 February)

On Tuesday 19 January over 50  adults and children marched from Stackpool Road to the Explore @Bristol where we presented the petition with 722 signatures to the Mayor at the ful l meeting of Bristol City Council. Over 30 people submitted passionate statements in support of saving the FaithSpace building. All of these actions have helped to keep attention on the campaign and, we hope this activity is maintaining pressure on the Methodists to ultimately sell the building only to someone who will maintain it in community use.

The six-month community asset moratorium period, during which time the Methodists could only sell the building to a ‘eligible community organization’ has now expired. This means that the building could now be sold to anyone. However, the Methodists have not yet started to market the building for sale.

We’re working together to with lots of partners trying to put together a proposal that would raise the necessary funds to buy the building. We are also trying to develop a sustainable longer-term plan to run the building in a way that includes community use.

As part of the campaign to save the FaithSpace building for the community, the campaign team are exploring whether the local community could help raise funds to contribute to buying the building and help secure it as an asset for the community forever.

Please complete this survey before 6 March to help us establish what we might be able to raise from the community.

https://scda.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/faithspace-community-funding-survey

Thank you for your continued support

 

Display a poster in your window at home or work:

If you want to Print & display a poster CLICK HERE. If you have no access to a printer there are posters available on reception here at The Southville Centre.

Frequently Asked Questions

A lot of people have been asking SCDA about what's happening to the Faithspace building next to the Southville Centre. We've put together these frequently asked questions with all the information we know. Find out here what you can do to help save the building for the community.

What is Faithspace?

Faithspace is the name of the project that the Methodist ran in Southville Methodist Church and hall. The building is still commonly referred to as Faithspace.

 

When did Faithspace close?

The Faithspace project was relocated by the Methodists to Redcliffe Church Centre at the end of 2014. The building on Stackpool Road was emptied and boarded up at the end of November 2014.

 

What was Faithspace on Stackpool Road used for before it was closed?

The Methodists used the building for faith-based activities. Recently the church was leased to the charity Gathering Voices who ran singing and performances groups in the space under the name Soundworks. The hall was also used by community groups such as choirs, toddler groups and arts groups. It was also used for craft fairs and markets.

 

Who owns the building?

The building is owned by the Methodist Church?

 

What are they planning to do with it?

They are planning to sell the building. They have appointed a property agent and intend to market the building after 27 January 2016.

 

Why are they waiting until 27 January to sell the building?

Southville Community Development Association (SCDA) successfully nominated the building as an Asset of Community Value in 2014. This meant that the Methodists had to notify the council they planned to sell the building. Once they did this in August 2014, SCDA and other community groups were able to ‘express an interest’ in the building. This prevented the Methodists from selling the building for six months, except to an ‘eligible community organisation. For more information on Assets of Community Value visit https://www.bristol.gov.uk/people-communities/community-right-to-bid

 

Do the ‘Asset of Community Value’ status prevent the Methodists from selling the building or require them to sell it to a community group?

No, it just delays the process. After the 27 January they can sell the building to whomever they choose to. The community groups have no right to buy the building.

 

Are there any restricted uses on the building?

The building does have a restrictive covenant on the building. The following are details of the covenants contained in the Conveyance dated 29 July 1892 referred to in the Charges Register:-

 

"the Trustees hereby covenant with the Vendor that they the Trustees their heirs executors administrators or assigns will not use or permit or suffer to be used the buildings to be erected upon the said plot of land for any other purpose than a church or chapel and schools to be used in connection with "The United Methodist Free Churches" or other religious body or society and not for a dwellinghouse or houses"

 

Does the covenant prevent the building being converted to housing?

Not necessarily. Sometimes covenants can be challenged in court and overturned by developers. However the covenant does show that the building was always intended for use as a church and for education and not for housing.

 

Is the building listed?

No the building is not listed in any way. However it does sit within a conservation zone so there are certain planning restrictions that would apply to the building. You can read more about conservation zones in Bristol here https://www.bristol.gov.uk/planning-and-building-regulations/conservation-areas

 

Could SCDA buy the building as an extension to the Southville Centre?

Unfortunately SCDA does not have the resources to buy the Faithspace building at this time as we’ve just purchased a second building on Chessel Street. At the moment all our spare resources are focussed on developing this site into a new community space and nursery. However, we are keen to work with other partners to try and save the Faithspace building for continued community use.

 

Who is interested in the Faithspace building?

A number of local groups and organisations are potentially interested in Faithspace but none have firm proposals yet. The SCDA Chair of Trustees Matthew Symonds has been actively talking to lots of groups to try and find a viable way to save Faithspace but ultimately it is up to the Methodists who own the building who they sell it to.

 

Does the council have any control over who buys Faithspace?

No not really. However, the council has stated that it would like for the Faithspace building to be retained for community use and it has some planning policies that would support this continued use but it can not force the current or future owners to use the building in this way.

How can I support the campaign to save Faithspace?

You can help put pressure on the Methodist Church to meet with community groups who want to save the building for continued community use by writing to

Jonathan Pye
Chairman of the Bristol Methodist District
Bristol and South, GloucestershireMethodist Circuit Circuit Office,
1B Whiteladies Road,
Clifton,
Bristol, BS8 1NU or email circuitpa@bsgc.org.uk

It will have more impact if the letters are individual and not all the same, but please include in your letter...

  • Examples of how you have used the Faithspace Building in the past 

  • Why you think it is important to save Faithspace for the community to continue to use
  • A request for that the Methodists sell the building in a way that enables community use to continue as well as them being able to get a good value for the building (as required by their charitable objectives)


Please also send a copy to Matthew Symonds, Chair of Trustees, Southville Community Development Association , The Southville Centre, Beauley Road, Bristol, BS3 1QG or email info@southvillecentre.org.uk

 

UPDATE post community meeting Dec 8th 2015

How will the sale of the building be handled?

SCDA have been wondering this ourselves so we asked the agents the Methodists have appointed to managed the sale. This is the response we received on 8 December 2015,

"My instructions will be to openly market the property to all-comers in the New Year, once the 6 month Moratorium period has elapsed.  There will be a marketing period of perhaps 4 – 6 weeks when a number of open view times will be arranged for those who have not already visited, and those wishing to make another inspection.

Offers will be invited in writing by a deadline that will be specified, and following receipt of offers these will be discussed with my clients, The Bristol and South Gloucestershire Methodist Circuit.  They will consider a number of aspects relating to proposals that have been made including price, financial arrangements, potential use and any other conditions to which the offer is made, for example planning permissions and surveys.  It will not simply be a question of accepting the highest offer and in the case of this particulars property as you are aware there is also a Restrictive Covenant to be taken into account, of which Bristol City Corporation are aware."