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Kingsland Road church that restored derelict building given notice by Diocese of London over 'lack of investment'

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 October 2019

Christ Apostolic Church in Kingsland Road. Picture: Fin Fahey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Christ Apostolic Church in Kingsland Road. Picture: Fin Fahey (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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A Kingsland Road church is being evicted by the Diocese of London after 39 years due to a "lack of investment" - but they say they have spent thousands renovating the historic building.

Sister's House before the church moved in, and after the renovation. Picture: Christ Apostolic ChurchSister's House before the church moved in, and after the renovation. Picture: Christ Apostolic Church

When the Christ Apostolic Church took over the lease of the former St Columba Anglican church in 1980 it had been empty for years and was derelict.

They were given a lease on the agreement they carried out substantial repair works. Over the years they restored the interiors and the roof, and today the Grade I listed building houses a vibrant church, a homeless kitchen and two choirs.

But the diocese says it has failed in its promise to carry out "significant work to the external shell" of the building and Historic England has warned the building is at risk of rapid deterioration.

Church secretary and pastor Kunle Aderugbo said they discovered they were being kicked out when the diocese gave them the impossible task of carrying out £6million of work.

The main church hall before the church moved in, and after the renovation. Picture: Christ Apostolic ChurchThe main church hall before the church moved in, and after the renovation. Picture: Christ Apostolic Church

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"We have worked extremely hard over the decades to restore the entire premises to a well functioning, habitable, warm and productive environment," he said.

"These works have ranged from vast grant-aided phased works, to the church building roof, to literal blood, sweat and tears work by committed congregants over the decades.

"The physical, personal and financial cost over the years cannot be overstated."

The church has now set up a crowdfunder aiming to raise as much as possible to pay for the repair work, despite the diocese already serving notice.

A spokesperson for the London Diocesan Fund said: "Unfortunately, while the interiors of the buildings have been modernised to a degree, no significant work to the external shell has taken place during the 39 years of the leases.

"The lack of investment in the buildings during the course of the tenancy has seen their condition decline substantially, and Historic England have warned that the buildings are now at 'immediate risk of further rapid deterioration'.

"Given the poor and potentially dangerous state of buildings, the fund has taken the considered and difficult decision to issue notice to Christ Apostolic Church so that we are able to conduct the necessary repairs while the buildings are still recoverable."

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