Plea to save town church

FEARS are rising over the future of an historic landmark in Portishead.

Members of the community are bracing themselves for the loss of more of the town’s heritage, after news that the United Reformed Church at the top of Cabstand will be sold off this summer.

The decision has been made because the small congregation, which rarely exceeds 30, can no longer afford maintenance and repairs to the 1880s building. The worshippers have now moved their Sunday morning services to St Nicholas Church in Nore Road.

The URC site comprises the church, a hall opposite and a small lodge. Users of the hall have all been given notice to quit in June before the sale goes ahead and the lodge has been empty for some time.

Residents in the town say they are worried that a developer will see the site as an ideal opportunity to build yet more flats in the area.

Great grandmother June Fowler, who lives in Springfield Road, says she remembers attending Sunday school in the church hall in the 1930s after the land was given specifically for that purpose. A stone in the grounds confirms the land was given for a Sunday school.

Mrs Fowler, aged 81, said: “We don’t want any more blocks of flats in Portishead. The hall should be kept for community use, that’s what the land was given for.

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“And the church is a spectacular building, we need to ensure that it is protected from demolition.”

Councillor Reyna Knight who lives in Cabstand said: “Many churches throughout North Somerset have been converted into living accommodation without the need to demolish or change much of their appearance.”

United Reformed Church South Western Synod Trust secretary, Raoul Hewitt, has confirmed that an estate agent will be instructed to deal with the sale in the near future.

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