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All Hallows Church, Copperfield Street

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Friday 19 June 2009 11.56am
Email to James Hatts, Editor, SE1 website 19 June 2009

Dear James,

I have been reading your article on the dispute between our residents and Southwark Cathedral over its plans to redevelop on the site of All Hallows Church and Community Garden in Copperfield Street in SE1. ("Stormy reception for latest All Hallows development plans" posted SE1 website, 18th June 2009)

Thank you for your coverage as we fight to protect the garden and the quality of life of local tenants and residents. But I need to clarify some factual errors in the copy.

The caption on the third photograph from the top states: "Formerly used as a suite of recording studios, the All Hallows building is now derelict". The church is not derelict. It has never been declared derelict. It is in disrepair. This is because Southwark Cathedral has allowed it to fall into this state.

Your article states: "The Dean was pressed by local residents for details of the financial arrangements for the development. He explained that it would be at least 10 to 15 years before the cathedral saw a financial return on the All Hallows site." Southwark Cathedral's own architect, Roger Molyneux, is on record as saying at the Tuesday night meeting that that it will take more time that. In fact, the Cathedral team went on to admit -- when further pressed -- that a return was not expected for at least 15 to 20 years.

Your article states: "If the scheme goes ahead it would take about 18 months to build. The garden would remain open during the construction period." The Cathedral gave no guarantee that the garden would remain open during construction. In fact, at Monday night's meeting when asked how the garden could remain open when building apparatus was needed to build a structure of this scale, Roger Molyneux said: "We are still working through that". In order to construct, we believe Southwark Cathedral -- like all developers -- will need cranes, piling rigs and other machinery, as well as portacabins and containers for site huts. If the Cathedral is not going to place building apparatus in the garden, we would like to know, where else does it intend to site it?

I trust you will change the posting, or publish this letter, to reflect the above and set the record straight.

Best regards,

Una Devine
Save All Hallows Campaign
079 043 68 049
Friday 19 June 2009 3.09pm
Good point about the building being in a state of disrepair rather than derelict. On a related note, has the Save All Hallows Campaign asked to see a copy of the survey that was alluded to on Monday night? The one that apparently says that the current building is unsalvageable?
Friday 19 June 2009 4.55pm
I have to agree with Una Devine and subsequent post. The building is not derelict at all - just run down from being empty for a bit - in fact having now had the opportunity to see inside the building (on Monday and Tuesday) I was surprised at how good a state the building was in and completely dry inside too.

James why did you put such a grotty picture of the newer 1950's part of the church on your article? You normally take such good photos and the church, particularly with its original 1800's part is much prettier when viewed from the main entrance on Copperfield Street with the lovely garden in front of it!

Incidentally, I heard (though it was said very, very quietly by the developers - and not repeated when I asked) that there will be two separate planning applications - one for the demolition of the church and rebuilding of flats and the other for the new house they want to build for the canon paster (even though there is already a vicarage on the site!).

Please could we have a nicer picture James?
Friday 26 June 2009 11.11am
'Save Borough's All Hallows Church'
(South London Press, Thursday, 25 June 2009)

CLERGY and irate residents are at loggerheads over a controversial development.

[snipped by JH - please don't copy and paste whole articles from other sites]

Friday 26 June 2009 7.02pm
(Southwark News, 26 June 2009)

John Prendergast

Borough residents are preparing to take on Southwark Cathedral for the third time in four years, as it plans to submit proposals to demolish a derelict church and neighbouring homes to build new flats.

The Cathedral has applied to knock down All Hallows Church, empty since the 1970s, and the adjoining two homes.It plans to build nine new properties and a new pastor's home.

Now residents, who have lived in the homes for up to 37 years, and other locals have set up a campaign to halt the plans, as they also fear the loss of the surrounding park.

FULL LINK:,news,15477,185,00.htm
Friday 3 July 2009 6.14pm
Those who attended the meetings may recall that the cathedral said that they would make their notes available via this website.

Here is a PDF document with the Dean's introductory remarks and the cathedral's notes of the Q&As.

Editor of the London SE1 website.
Subscribe to our SE1 Direct weekly newsletter.
Wednesday 22 July 2009 6.18pm
Also of some concern, are plans for the Hans Feibusch mural which is still in the church, but protected by a false wall - so not immediately visible.

This is an important piece of artwork, by a painter who was exhibited in Hitler's 'degenerate artists' exhibition. The artwork needs to be protected, or removed and saved.

Do the architect's plans have any reference to this artwork? Destroying it would be quite unacceptable.

Evan Millner
Saturday 8 August 2009 6.53pm
All Hallows Community Garden in Borough has won yet another award. For more details, visit our new website

It is thanks to the sustained and voluntary efforts of local residents over the past 35 years, that All Hallows receives this recognition, as well as preserving it as a vital and much-loved public space.

Public access to the garden is under threat from Southwark Cathedral which wants to develop the site.

If you would like to be added to the Save All Hallows Campaign mailing list, or would like to offer help or support, please contact us through the website.


All Hallows Community Garden is under threat from Southwark Cathedral which wants to develop All Hallows Church on the site into nine privately rented flats. The proposed development -- the third application in four years -- would overlook the garden, effectively turning this unique and peaceful haven in central London into the front lawn of a block of flats.

The Dean of Southwark Cathedral, Colin Slee, claims the garden will remain open to public use during and after the development, while at the same time refusing to put this undertaking into writing (Ref: Meeting between All Hallows supporters and Southwark Cathedral, All Hallows Church Hall, Borough, 15 June 2009).

The cathedral also seeks to take control of the garden, removing it from community management, for the first time in almost four decades.

Southwark Cathedral's proposal will also box in residents on the Winchester Estate, on the north-side of the garden, creating a tomb-like effect. It would severely impact the quality of life of hundreds of residents by reducing natural light and privacy, as well as increasing artificial light levels and noise pollution.

More details on our continued fight to have All Hallows Community Garden remain open to the public in perpetuity are available at

Please contact us through the website if you would like to be added to the Save All Hallows Campaign mailing list, or would like to offer help or support.
Sunday 13 September 2009 1.04pm
Residents Present Alternative Plans

On 9th September 2009, thirteen local residents met with representatives of Southwark Cathedral where alternative proposals and plans for All Hallows Church and Community Garden on Copperfield Street in Borough were presented.

The proposal is for a community and cultural centre and garden instead of the Cathedral's proposal for nine private flats.

Residents believe the proposal has the potential of delivering as much, if not greater, income to the Cathedral as their scheme in addition to enhancing the local community and rejuvenating All Hallows Church that the Cathedral let fall into disrepair.

As well as preserving the garden, the existing church's roof profile will be retained so that residents of the Winchester Estate will keep their light and privacy by not being boxed in.

Next to this will be two spaces that may incorporate a gallery, recital and small venue that can be hired and used by the community as well as a café / restaurant, nursery or crèche.

Residents' plans keep, rather than demolish, the existing Vicarage and Hall and, with refurbishment, will allow the Canon Pastor to reside there, as well as providing a worship space.

This inspiring example of local community activists challenging developers by producing their own plans was made possible by Christopher Hills of Linedota Architects.

To see the residents' alternative plans, please visit
Sunday 20 September 2009 7.25pm
Press Release ***For Immediate Release ***

South London residents appeal to Archbishop Tutu to intervene in row with Southwark Cathedral as BBC Ground Force star joins campaign to save hidden gem

(London, 20 September 2009): A small community in south London is publicly appealing to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to intervene in a bitter dispute between its residents and the Dean of Southwark Cathedral, Colin Slee.

For the third time since 2005, locals have been forced into battle with the Cathedral to stop large-scale development at the site of All Hallows Church and Community Garden on Copperfield Street in Borough. The Cathedral's proposed development threatens to destroy residents' community and quality of life.

The proposed development will affect hundreds of residents, blocking out the light to their flats and taking away their privacy. It will take place in a key conservation area, a short walk from Southwark Cathedral. Two people will also lose their long-term home if the Cathedral's proposal goes ahead.

Campaigners also believe the development will eventually restrict public access to the award-winning, walled garden on which the church stands. The garden was created by residents out of the rubble of a Nazi bomb site 35 years ago. Since then, the garden has been maintained and managed voluntarily by locals with little help from the Cathedral.

Local residents voted overwhelmingly against the Southwark Cathedral proposal at two public consultation meetings held during the summer. At one of those meetings, Colin Slee told the gathering that if Southwark Cathedral did not get permission for this latest proposal, he ‘would just submit another one'.

The Save All Hallows Campaign says:

“Colin Slee's latest proposal, and his indications about submitting more until he gets planning permission, threatens to destroy the community that generations of our residents have helped to build.

“In the interests of peace and reconciliation we are appealing to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a world-renowned authority on conflict resolution, to use his influence with Colin Slee - who is the chairman of the Tutu Foundation UK - to withdraw these plans and work with the community on finding a solution acceptable to both sides.

“We are asking Desmond Tutu to appeal to the Dean to put people and community before profit.”

Residents believe there is no financial or legal justification for the latest Cathedral proposal, as the Dean claims.

On Wednesday (9th September 2009), residents presented to the Cathedral an alternative proposal for the All Hallows' site, which they believe has the potential to deliver as much, if not more, income to the Cathedral as the Cathedral's scheme. The residents' proposal mainly comprises a community and cultural centre, and will preserve the garden. Furthermore, it will allow residents on the Winchester Park estate to the north of the development to retain their light and privacy.

Residents believe that under the Cathedral's proposals, the community garden will eventually be blocked off, because the Dean has refused to put into writing his claim that it will remain open to the public. The nature of the garden, which has been described as ‘an oasis of calm in central London', will be changed forever if it is turned into the front lawn of a block of flats.

The Save All Hallows Campaign is also being backed by Tommy Walsh from the popular BBC gardening series, Ground Force.

Tommy says: “There is very little community breathing space in central London. Small oases such as All Hallows Community Garden should be cherished, and preserved, allowing local communities to relax and interact. I'm surprised the church chooses to ignore the value of these places against the public will, in pursuit of property development and profit.”

For further information on the Save All Hallows campaign, and for further details on the residents' alternative plans, please visit, or email


The Residents' Case

In the past four years, residents have twice successfully campaigned to have similar planning applications by Southwark Cathedral for the All Hallows' site turned down.

Residents are not against development taking place on the All Hallows' site. Their concerns centre on what the Cathedral is proposing under the current scheme and the effect it will have on people's well-being.

Of particular concern is that two people, who helped create the garden 35 years ago, will lose their long-term home. They have also been instrumental in preserving, for future generations, the unique nature of the conservation area that has increasingly come under threat from developers since it became an attractive place to live and work. They are valued members of the community.

There is no practical justification for creating a new development to house the Canon Pastor and provide a community space when accommodation for both currently exists on the site.

There is no financial justification for the Cathedral scheme. Southwark Cathedral has admitted it will take as long as 20 years to realise a return on its investment under the current proposal. The alternative plan put forward by the residents indicates there are equally, if not more, profitable uses to which the site can be put.

There is no legal justification for the Cathedral development. Colin Slee claims he is legally obliged to optimise income. However, legal advice secured by the residents suggests this is open to interpretation.

There is no justification to demolish All Hallows Church. The building is not derelict. It is only in disrepair, and that is because the Cathedral has allowed it to run down. Residents who inspected it recently remarked on how dry and damp-free it is inside. They believe the building should be repaired.

There is no justification for the Cathedral choosing to build up instead of down in order to preserve people's light and privacy.

Southwark Cathedral Proposal

Southwark Cathedral has signaled its intention to submit plans to Southwark Council to demolish and redevelop All Hallows Church, Church Hall and Community Garden with a four-storey development of nine private flats. The development also provides for a worship and community space that can expand into an external amphitheatre and a house for the Canon Pastor.

Residents' Alternative Proposal

On 9th September 2009, thirteen local residents met with representatives of Southwark Cathedral, where alternative plans for All Hallows Church and Community Garden on Copperfield Street in Borough SE1 were presented.

Residents have suggested to the Cathedral that they create a community and cultural centre with a garden, instead of the nine flats that the Cathedral has proposed. Residents believe the proposal could provide as much, if not more, income to the Cathedral as the Cathedral's own scheme.

The residents' proposal would preserve the current garden. What's more, the plans stick to the profile of the existing church's roof, which means that residents of the Winchester Park estate will not lose light and privacy as a result of being boxed in.

In the residents' plans, the basement of All Hallows will be turned into a soundproofed music, dance, rehearsal and fitness studio. The ground and first floors will contain workshops, studios and small offices.

Next to these rooms, there will be two spaces. One of these spaces might incorporate a gallery or a recital room that could be hired out to companies and used by the local community. The other could accommodate a café, restaurant, nursery or crèche.

Residents' plans keep, rather than demolish, the existing vicarage and hall. With refurbishment, these buildings would provide living accommodation for the Cathedral's Canon Pastor and a worship space.

This inspiring example of local community activists challenging developers by producing alternative plans was made possible by Christopher Hill of Linedota Architects.

- ends -
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