12 April 2013…..A year ago now, Enforcement were contacted by saveHOVE concerning the ignored and collapsed section of wall and attached pier at the main entrance by the bus stop in Eaton Road/Blatchington Road. It has again been necessary to go back to them seeking help for Holy Trinity.
The Church falls within Goldsmid Ward on the boundary with Central Ward. Councillors were informed and asked to become involved. What is happening?
A handsome, head-height flint wall surrounds Holy Trinity along three streets: Eaton Place, Goldstone Villas and Eaton Rd/Blatchington Road. In various places this fine wall is now defaced by bright white lime mortar hastily pressed into crevasses as someone’s idea of an appropriate repair. The repairs are an appalling mess. The collapsed remains of the Pier at the entrance in Eaton Road/Blatchington Road has finally been cleared away – but only recently, after a year or more of being left lying there!
The lawn and trees within the walls were once fabulous. A buddleia with miniature orange globe ‘flowers’ would overhang the bus stop area of the pavement by the end of the first week of June….until it was ruthlessly hacked to roots. All is now dereliction and neglect. But by the taxi rank and public toilets area of Goldstone Villas, the overhanging branches of a mature fig tree still provide fruit every year. Its’ huge, plate-like, leaves shade from oppressive sun and offer cover from rain. The garden and trees are all protected by TPO/conservation status. The entire church and curtilege are Grade 2 Listed but look at the state of it!
Holy Trinity is a Grade 2 Listed deconsecrated Victorian church with treed grounds laid to lawn around it which give locals and shoppers an open aspect by the 2 very busy bus stops and shopping at a very, very, very busy Goldstone Villas junction. Apart from intrinsic value, and resident concern to see the existing building retained and converted, those open grounds within a really lovely flint wall also need to be retained for the amenity value they provide (for humans and wildlife).
A year ago, Gerard McCormack (Head of Enforcement, now gone), was unwilling to put a s215 repair notice on the premises because a developer was about to buy it from the Church Commissioners and convert it into a doctor’s surgery. This plan is years old now and nothing has happened. Gerard expected a planning application and conversion and did not wish to upset negotiations.
A year on, it is time to ask again and it was left with Robin Hodgetts to speak with Aidan Thatcher (the current Head of Enforcement) to again consider a s215. Sadly there are no guarantees that a wholly inappropriate wall and pier repair would not be made as a s215 is only about securing and tidying. Right now a bleak future for this site begins to look inevitable.