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Concern over Cathedral’s plan to build alongside community garden

London SE1 website team

Over 50 residents from the Church Commissioners flats in Union Street and Winchester Cottages were at a meeting to called to discuss opposition to plans for flats on the site of All Hallows Church.

All Hallows

All Hallows, on the corner of Pepper Street and Copperfield Street, was destroyed during the 1941 blitz. Afterwards the Cathedral, in whose parish the church stood, retained the north aisle as a temporary church and in 1968 created the community garden in the former nave and south aisle.

The scheme now proposed by the Cathedral's Dean and Chapter involves building fifteen flats to be let and a residence for the Canon Pastor.

At the meeting, held in Charles Dickens School, residents Nigel Kershaw and Ellie Jones outlined the plans and some objections raised by neighbours. Afterwards speakers from the floor claimed that the plans were incompatible with the conservation area which embraces the site.

Residents also expressed fears that a new building could block out light and lead to a loss of privacy. It was also suggested that there could be an increase in artificial light at night.

All Hallows

Although the cathedral is retaining the community garden there were suggestions that tenants in the new flats might want it for their exclusive use.

Simon Hughes MP, who is a member of the Cathedral Council, spoke briefly and agreed to convey concerns to the Dean and Chapter.

Cathedral Dean Colin Slee, writing in cathedral publication Over the Bridge, says that charity laws require the cathedral to maximise resources.

"We could do this by de-consecrating the site and disposing of it to a developer. I regard this as an irresponsible move, of selling the family silver, which would bring no tangible benefit to the community.

"We have intentionally developed this scheme to enable the garden to be preserved" added the Dean who points out that the height of the new flats is lower than the roofline of the former church which occupied the entire site up to the pavement.

• The plans will be on show at the Bankside Residents Forum meeting at the Jerwood Space on Tuesday 21 June at 6.30pm when the architect will speak about the scheme.

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