NEWS - Throop United Reformed Church and Daily Echo Correspondence, Bournemouth

NEW - 30th January 2012

E-mail Response from Councillor Ron Whittaker
18th January 2012
FW: Former Throop URC - Bournemouth


As you can see, Melanie from the echo has manage to make contact with Mr. Maclean, where he has totally ignore all other approaches from the Council.

Notice he says "Will continue to work with Bournemouth Council," this is remarkable considering he has failed at answer any letters/emails from yourself simple requesting as to where Wessex Trust are with their promised plans that they had indicated in 2010.

What really upset me is some around May 2010 i had some three separate churches approach me as they were showing interest in Throop church, one being St. Peter, St Pauls Orthodox and Bible Baptist Church, all details were passed on to Wessex Trust with a letter from myself dated 10th May 2010, never received any acknowledgement, sadly neither did those churches that had shown great interest, the Orthodox was talking then of a growing congregation looking for Priest accommodation plus Sunday school a play provision, all could be so provided at the two buildings.

Notice Mr. Maclean now tells us that that the "investment need to fit the church for purpose is in Excess of £200,000" with all the emails and clear warning signs by yourself. Andy Williams and myself about the general ongoing deterioration to the whole of the fabric of the building, yes who is surprised now at the likely figure to make the listed church "fit for purpose", have all our appeals fallen on Wessex Trust ears.

As we know only last year after repeated request did the Trust take action to board up the Windows of both there buildings, we were told that the church owners were interested in having a Pre-Application discussions on the Manse, again we know we have heard nothing, see that they have made no mention of the Manse in their email, why Not one must ask.

Nigel suppose now the next step is a further approach to the Trust, as they say "on going obligations to the listed church premises", yes they have and also to the Manse.

Am copying in the relevant statuary bodies who i know might be able to help / advice as to what steps we might take, all i know we cannot allow another year to go by allowing these two listed buildings to further deteriorate.

As we know we have already drawn Wessex Trust attention to the general appearance of both the front church Yard and with now Denis who has maintained as best as possible the rear graveyard over the years at his own expense cannot continue any longer, again this voluntary help has never ever been appreciate by the Trust, also the church yard is still being used whenever for any future burials.

Nigel will take your advice but feel this now need to have report to the board some time, myself i would like the authority if no favourable response that CPOs that be seriously considered.

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply by Stuart MacLean - Executive Officer, The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited
14 January 2012
RE: Former Throop URC - Bournemouth


Thank you for your e-mails.

Over the last year the United Reformed Church has been investigating the feasibility of introducing a new congregation into the church premises at Throop, but has now reluctantly decided that the investment needed to make those church premises fit for purpose to current standards, calculated as being in excess of £200,000, cannot unfortunately be justified where the local support of that church has already dwindled to an unsustainable level.

The United Reformed Church will continue to work with Bournemouth Borough Council as it meets its ongoing obligations to the listed church premises at Throop.

Kind regards
Stuart MacLean
Executive Officer, The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited

Reply by Melanie Vass - Bournemouth Daily Echo Reporter
12th January 2012
RE: Former Throop URC - Bournemouth

Thank you for getting back to me. If you could let me have your response by the end of tomorrow (Friday) that would be great.

Thank you, Melanie.

Reply by Stuart MacLean - Executive Officer, The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited
12th January 2012
RE: Former Throop URC - Bournemouth


Thank you for your voicemail message and e-mail of yesterday.

I am currently in between meetings today and would like time to put together a considered response to your request for an update. Can you let me know the deadline that I can work to please.

Thank you
Stuart MacLean
Executive Officer, The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited

E-mail from Melanie Vass - Bournemouth Daily Echo Reporter to Stuart Maclean - Executive Officer, The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust Limited
11th January 2012
Former Throop URC - Bournemouth


My name is Melanie Vass and I am a reporter at the Daily Echo, Bournemouth.

I am looking to update readers on the current situation regarding this former church and whether any progress has been made in the past year with regards to finding new tenants and bringing the building back into use. It is a hot topic amongst the local councillors and I believe Bournemouth council enforcement officers are also involved.

Could you please let me know what the current situation is?

Melanie Vass
Daily Echo, Bournemouth

E-mail from Denis Whitley to Councillor Ron Whittaker
2nd January 2012
Throop United Reform Church

Dear Sir,

For the last four years since my retirement, I have been 'tidying up' the burial grounds at the rear of the Throop United Reform Church, clearing brambles and keeping the grass cut to make it welcoming to the relatives of those buried there (my father and eldest brother included). The church was closed in September 27th 2009, and despite the United Reform Church Wessex Trust saying that it will be taken over by some other denomination, nothing has happened. The local councillor Ron Whittaker has worked tirelessly to get some response from the Wessex Trust as to the current situation but to no avail. I do know that the Bournemouth International Church were trying to lease the church for the last year or so, but nothing seems to have happened. In the meantime the church and manse continue to fall into disrepair, and are now looking sad and neglected.

If anybody from the Bournemouth International Church should read this could they possibly contact Councillor Whittaker, or yourselves, with an update on the progress of any negotiations as the Wessex Trust seem reluctant to do so, or indeed answer any communications from the Council.

Yours faithfully,
Denis Whitley