Tamba owner plans to convert church into flats

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THE entrepreneur behind Tamba Park wants to convert an old town church into eight apartments.

The United Reform Church in Victoria Street was built in the 1860s and briefly became a gym in the 1980s

Jonathan Ruff’s property development company, JAJ Properties Limited, has submitted an application for the former United Reform Church in Victoria Street, which is a listed heritage building.

In the application’s design statement, which can be viewed on Planning’s website, the scheme’s designers, Origin Architecture Limited, say the proposal for six one-bedroom and two two-bedroom units of accommodation, includes ‘significant’ public realm improvements by improving the setting of the building in Victoria Street.

‘The conversion works proposed will not only bring this building back into beneficial use but [will also] generate the necessary investment required for the building to secure its long-term future’, the company writes.

‘The project will remove much of the later modern interior arrangement, stripping back essentially to three floor plates, with the introduction of a new internal access stair, and the removal of a redundant lift.

‘The reconfiguration of the internal arrangement lends itself appropriately to accommodate three apartments on [each of] the ground and first-floor, and two apartments – with mezzanine levels – within the second floor and roof.

‘These units have all been specifically designed to have an individual character appropriate to the nature of the existing building.’

The church is thought to have been built in the early 1860s as an English Congregational Church. The United Reform Church was forced to sell it in 1982 as it was unable to meet the costs of repairs and maintenance.

In 1984 it was converted into a gym, when many of the original interior features were removed and two floors added inside within a steel frame.

At the same time, many of the original church windows were replaced with uPVC and aluminium ones.

In 1991 the building was sold to the Immanuel Church and more recently to the Freedom Church who, having moved to the old Odeon Cinema in Bath Street, have sold it to Mr Ruff.


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