Constantine Cornwall

Future of the Church Hall

Transition Constantine Update
Chris Hussey

The Church Hall is owned by the Diocese of Truro, along with the car park, the fields below, and the Glebe Garden. Now that the Church has given up its lease on the Church Hall, the Diocese is considering what should happen to it.

In mid-March the Parish Council received copies of documents sent to Cornwall Council planning department that form a ‘pre-application’ submission. In other words, the Diocese will be seeking planning permission to re-develop the Church Hall as residential property, and has submitted an outline of the proposal to prompt comment from the planners. There are various options presented, showing the Hall being converted into one, two, or three residences. All involve the current walled car park being taken into the exterior space of the residence(s), with the further car park by the green being extended into the field below.

Early in 2020 the Parish Council suc- cessfully nominated the Church Hall as an ‘Asset of Community Value’. The consequence of this is that should the Diocese put the Church Hall up for sale, there is a requirement for the sale to be delayed by six months if there is community interest in buying the Hall. There is no preferential treatment – the required delay is simply to allow a community group to raise funds. They would then compete in an open market with others interested in the property.

At the time of writing it is unclear what the Diocese’s intentions are. It is possible, but perhaps unlikely, that it will retain ownership of the Hall. Should planning permission be granted, there seem three possibilities. The Diocese could:

  • sell the Hall as-is with planning permission in place;
  • redevelop the Hall and let the properties(in which case no sale would take place, and the ‘community right to bid’ would not be relevant;
  • redevelop the Hall and sell the properties. The next scheduled meeting of Constantine Parish Council is on Tuesday 15 April 2021, and the proposed redevelopment of the Church Hall will undoubtedly be discussed then. These meetings are open to the public to attend, and there is always provision for public questions before the meeting begins. In any case, I am sure Parish Councillors will welcome public views on the proposed redevelopment in advance of the meeting.