Anger at plan to knock down ‘rare’ Tufnell Park church
PUBLISHED: 08:30 30 July 2015
A petition has been launched to oppose development
A petition to prevent the demolition of a “rare” church in Tufnell Park and replace it with apartments has reached 700 signatures.
Plans by St George and All Saints Church in Crayford Road will see the existing building demolished and replaced with a seven-storey private housing development and a smaller church.
Roderik Gonggrijp, 40, of Crayford Road, launched the petition six weeks ago on the grounds that the 40-year-old church was not in a state of disrepair to warrant demolition.
He said: “The church is actually a very rare church. It is one of only 37 churches built in the 1970s, none of which are protected. Architecture from the 1970s can be like Marmite [you either love it or hate it], but they are planning to demolish a really popular building in our neighbourhood.”
He says his attempts to engage with the vicar and project managers have been rebuffed: “We couldn’t even arrange a chat over a cup of tea.”
Disputes over the social housing provisions made in the tower block have caused concern among those opposed to the plans.
Mr Gonggrijp said: “It was made clear that the majority, and possibly all, of the residential units will be up for market sale. We have a serious housing problem in this area and it is the church’s duty to address these concerns, not to make money.”
Official plans have yet to be submitted to the council.
A spokesman for the church said: “Our aim is to redevelop the site of St George and All Saints to allow it to better serve its mission and provide sustainable community resources.
“We are working towards a planning application for a scheme that will have substantial benefits for the community.
“We have engaged with the authors of the petition in person and in writing about the issues they raise.”
He continued: “By taking the opportunity to reimagine the site, we will provide a new, smaller, but better church, as well as a range of much needed community facilities and housing and create a new, living community hub set in green spaces with more trees. The plans include a small amount of housing to make the scheme self-funding. We have always been clear on our commitment to ensuring that as much as possible will be socially rented or truly affordable; the church will make no profit.”