South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors are urging their Conservative and Liberal Democrat colleagues to support a decision next week to undertake urgent works at the prominent and historic Whitfield Tabernacle in the centre of Kingswood.
For well over a decade Kingswood’s Labour councillors have been actively seeking a solution to the dereliction of Whitfield Tabernacle. Back in August 2003 the former church appeared on the BBC Restoration programme, but was unsuccessful in winning funds from the public vote. A later bid in 2007 to get Kingswood’s library moved there was rejected by the Tory-led authority.
Next Wednesday (27th) councillors at a meeting of South Gloucestershire’s Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee will be asked to authorise urgent works to make the Tabernacle safe, and the council will seek to recover the cost from the owners (The PG Group). At next week’s meeting Council officials will also present a revised specification for the urgent works needed to the main Masters Church, aiming to make the building and roof structure safe from collapse.
Speaking about next week’s vote, Labour Group Deputy Leader Councillor Pat Apps (Labour, Kings Chase), who is one of the local councillors for the area, said:
“Local councillors and the local community at large have been urging the council to take action to restore Whitfield Tabernacle for many years now. We recognise that there are problems with paying for the work, but such a prominent and historic building must be saved and restored. I urge the building’s owners to work closely with the council and community to ensure that the Tabernacle has a bright future.”
Labour Group Leader Councillor Andy Perkins, who represents the neighbouring Kingswood ward of Woodstock, added:
“Kingswood has a rich non-conformist history. South Gloucestershire Council cannot let important buildings like this just disintegrate. We’ve not seen any action on this site for years under the Tory-controlled Cabinet system that used to operate in South Gloucestershire, but now we have secured a committee-style of decision-making we are at least able to get proposals like this on the table and I hope councillors from all parties will support it.”
18th March 2013