Sunday, August 30, 2009

St Cyprian's Hall to be auctioned off on 22nd September

According to the notice that has just gone up outside it, St Cyprian's Church Hall, on the corner of Brockley Road and Braxfield Road is due to be sold at auction on 22nd September. As well as the church hall (which in itself is a considerable size), I understand that the auction includes the sale of the neighbouring commercial premises and flats above (the undertakers, and the premises on the other side of the hall too).

Taken together, these represent a sizeable site, onto which I imagine some developer will be hoping to squeeze as many flats as possible. As far as I'm aware, none of the buildings are listed, so theoretically they could all be demolished. although the owners has to honour existing leases with the businesses.

Personally, I think it would be a real loss to Brockley Road if these buildings were demolished, and would hope to see a sensitive redevelopment that incorporates at least parts of the existing church hall, and brings the front entrance to the church hall, that has been bricked up for so long, back into use.

The hall and neighbouring premises are 'owned' by the RC Diocese of Southwark, although I know there is some controversy as to whether the diocese actually owns the hall and has the right to sell it, due to a covenant that was allegedly signed when it was transferred over from the Church of England in 1968, which says the building is to be preserved for community use. Back in 2007, when rumours of plans to sell the building surfaced, a group of local residents got together to oppose the plans, but I'm not sure what came of it all. If any of those residents is reading this and would like to get in touch, please do. Given it is about to be sold at auction, I'm assuming the diocese are confident that this is not the case.

It would be nice to see the hall brought back into community use, but I'm rather cynical about the chances of this happening, given the pending auction, the considerable sums of money that need to be spent on the hall roof to make it safe, the proximity of St Andrews and the fact that the hall has not been in proper community use for a while now. The RC Diocese of Southwark has allowed the hall to get into a very run-down state over the years, and over the past few years the number of events, classes etc held at the hall gradually dwindled, until it was closed entirely about a year ago, on health and safety grounds I understand. Furthermore, the diocese's efforts at community consultation and engagement over this have been non-existant, as far as I'm aware.

A potted history of the St Cyprian's Hall, according to Geograph:

"The building was erected in 1881-2 as St Cyprian's mission church in the parish of St Mary, Lewisham (Anglican). It was superseded in 1901 by a new parish church of the same name in Adelaide Road [sic] (which was bombed in WW2) but retained as a parish hall and occasional place of worship until 1968 when it was sold to the Roman Catholics for use as a church hall."

No comments: