Kingswood’s Labour councillors have welcomed the allocation of £105,000 for urgent works at the prominent and historic but derelict Whitfield Tabernacle in the centre of the town, and are urging its owners to work positively to get the site restored.
A recent meeting of South Gloucestershire’s Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee was presented with a revised figure of £105,000 to make the Masters Church on the site safe. This figure is based on a specification jointly prepared by a specialist conservation architect and structural engineer and by English Heritage: it represents the minimum work necessary to protect the building from further deterioration and safeguard it from collapse. As this specification will only make the building safe, additional works would be required later to repair the building for future use.
Speaking about the award, Labour Group Deputy Leader Councillor Pat Apps (Labour, Kings Chase), who is one of the local councillors for the area, said:
“The people of Kingswood will share their councillors’ relief that the council has stepped in and agreed to this urgent work. However, we remain concerned that it will only make the building safe and will not bring it back into life.”
The committee was told that the site’s private owners, The PG Group, are contesting the scale and cost of the urgent works necessary, and have indicated that they will appeal against the recovery of the works by the council. Councillor Apps commented:
“We urge the owners to recognise the importance of Whitfield Tabernacle to Kingswood’s people and environment and urge them to play a constructive role in getting this prominent and historical site restored to use.”
8th April 2013
NOTE: The report presented to the committee meeting is online on the Council's website HERE