Future of the Historic United Reformed Throop Church and Manse House

Update 18th March 2011

Reply from Councillor Ronald Whittaker

8th March 2011

RE: Throop Congregational Church and Manse.

Andy, due diligence we will see, wonder why then this was not stated last year before the trust then saying about the start of works before Christmas, as i have said we shall see?.

But am grateful for your help and support here,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from Andy Williams - Planning, Bournemouth Council to Councillor Ron Whittaker

8th March 2011

RE: Throop Congregational Church and Manse.

Hello Councillor Whittaker

Mr Maclean said during our phone conversation that they were taking 'due diligence' at the moment – ensuring that all legal and other background checks have been carried out prior to signing a contract with the Bournemouth International Church. He did say that hopefully the contract would be signed before the end of March and then procedures could be put in place for commencement of works.

Kind regards

Andy Williams - Conservation and Design Officer, Planning and Transport, Bournemouth Borough Council

E-mail from Councillor Ronald Whittaker

6th March 2011

FW: Throop Congregational Church and Manse.

Andy just to say been up today, Sunday, did not expect to see any activity, know it being two weeks since the phone message to you from the trust, but it would be nice if these so- called assurances were really serious to see some form of notices on site of the intention to carry out these works, surely they must have some idea of planned programme with contractors and the Bournemouth International Church,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

Reply from Councillor Ron Whittaker

03 March 2011

RE: Throop Congregational Church and Manse.

Andy.

Thank you for this update and for the work you have put into this, yes it sounds good news ,but we have been here before as we know, as you say guarded good news?.will believe when i see action on site, myself as you know have only just returned home from dealing with health issues, so will be going up into the village over week-end, notice the information has only been passed over on the phone, from that i take it no written confirmation by letter, never the less one can hope this time,

Again Andy i do like Ken and others thank you for pursuing this with the Trust,

Councillor Ron Whittaker

E-mail from Andy Williams - Planning, Bournemouth Council to Councillor Ron Whittaker

23rd February 2011

RE: Throop Congregational Church and Manse.

Dear Councillor Whittaker

I have guarded good news. I finally have had a response to my letter from a Mr Maclean of the United Reformed Church. He stated on the phone that they are proceeding with the original proposals, albeit delayed, to allow the Bournemouth International Church to take over the church building. The Bournemouth International Church is what he terms a mission that has strong connections with the United Reformed Church and in time will become part of it. Because of this the URC is willing to pay for work on the building starting with the essential repairs and other requirements of the incoming user. A surveyor is visiting the site today to carry out a schedule of dilapidations.

They also intend to properly refurbish the Manse, however, I asked whether they could look at leasing it out in the short term (at a rent to reflect its condition) which would at least provide short term security and prevent squatters and vandals. Mr Maclean said he would definitely contact Goadsby to see if this was possible, even if they have to do rudimentary works to make it acceptable to an incoming tenant (I think the house needs a new boiler and central heating).

Mr Maclean said he would keep me copied in to any correspondence on this matter.

Kind regards

Andy Williams - Conservation and Design Officer, Planning and Transport, Bournemouth Borough Council

Update 7th December 2010

December 2010

Dear Residents,

THROOP UNITED REFORM CHURCH, MUSCLIFFE LANE AND THE MANSE, BROADWAY LANE

On behalf of my two Ward colleagues, Councillors Anne Rey and Derek Borthwick, I write to advise you that on Tuesday, 30 November, I received some very encouraging news on the above Church and Manse.

As residents will be aware, in April I wrote a very detailed letter to the registered proprietor of the United Reform Church, Wessex Trust, Southampton, regarding the deterioration to the whole fabric of these two lovely listed buildings. As the Church and Manse had been closed for the past three years an action plan needed to be put in place and I sought to enquire if there was any church authority that would likely to be interested in either or both of the two buildings.

This subsequently led to much correspondence between myself and Bournemouth Council’s Conservation Officer and the Chairman of the Civic Society, both supporting our campaign to ensure that these buildings did not end up being closed like Throop Mill and, worse still, be in danger of all possible elements of vandalism, squatters, weather, etc.

On Monday, 29 November, I once again sought further assistance from our Conservation Officer to see if an approach could yet again be made to the agent appointed by the Wessex Trust, pointing out that as both buildings were listed buildings they needed to be properly maintained. Looking at the Manse it is very clear that the property is in great need of repair and it is more than evident that both buildings were showing signs of deterioration.

Once again our sincere thanks for their help go to both the Conservation Officer and our former Councillor, Ken Mantock, who is the Chairman of the Bournemouth Civic Society.

The following is the response to all our joint efforts received on Tuesday, 30 November, from the agent acting for the Wessex Trust –

“Thank you for the e-mails that have just been sent. To reassure you, I have just been advised by the Wessex Trust that at a recent Trust meeting it was agreed that the Church will be occupied by the Bournemouth International Church under a full repairing and insuring lease by Christmas. Work on making the Manse available for occupation by tenants will start before Christmas with a view to the Manse being occupied by tenants in February.”

One further question that I have asked is the planned approach from the new owners, Bournemouth International Church, and if the tenants of the Manse will be part of the Church. I have not as yet received a reply but nevertheless it is good news that both the Church and Manse will be occupied in the coming months.

Yours sincerely,

COUNCILLOR RON WHITTAKER

35 Glenmeadows Drive, Kinson, Bournemouth BH10 5HQ

Update 4th October 2010

Residents,

You will be aware of my representations to the planning agent who has been appointed by the Throop United Church, Wessex Trust, to look into the planning potential, as they say, of the church and surrounding grounds. To date, three separate churches have shown interest. PLEASE SEE COMMENTS IN THE FOLLOWING E-MAILS AND THAT OF THE AGENT FOR THE WESSEX TRUST.

Subject: RE: Throop Congregational Church, Muscliff lane.

“Peter,

Thank you for this update. You make reference to the visit of Mr. Mclean of Wessex Trust; here I have to point out, just in case any thoughts were being given to tree work, that the site of the Manse and Church is covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TRO), dating from 1976, as in the Muccleshell and Throop villages conservation area, which protects the trees.

As you know, any work on the trees will require Council Approval and yes, naturally, this does not apply to the overhanging undergrowth in Muscliffe Lane which has been the source of complaints.

I sincerely hope that the Wessex Trust will endeavour to speak to all the Church authorities who have made contact, particularly as the Church is listed and dated 1826 together with the grave yards to the front and rear which have a very special place in Throop as a conservation area. Naturally, one will await the outcome of the coming weeks to see what the Trust has in mind.

Once again I wish to draw attention to the fact that a former resident whose father and brother are buried in this church yard, travels from Romsey every few weeks to voluntarily cut/mow the grass to the rear grave yard; if it was not for this gentleman, the whole grave yard would be totally overgrown.

It will be good to see the Manse in a ‘lived in’ appearance, although much external and internal work will need to be carried out.

Cllr. Ron”

Subject: RE: Throop Congregational Church, Muscliff lane.

“Dear Ron

As you may appreciate, I have been away from the office for two weeks, so the following details are a summary of the situation as things stand today.

In respect of the overgrown nature of the grounds, Mr. McLean of the Wessex Trust has visited the site today and will be arranging for all necessary work to be undertaken to the site as soon as possible.

As far as our own work is concerned, we have yet to receive detailed sale instructions. There are substantial issues that the Trust has to deal with before it can commit to the sale of the site / buildings. In the interim period we have been asked to let the Manse on an assured six month shorthold tenancy. That will ensure a degree of occupation on site and keep the Manse in a 'lived in' appearance.

The Trust is still investigating the planning potential of the church and grounds. The Trustees are under a legal duty to do this. It may, or may not, result in the submission of a planning application. That issue will become clearer in the next few weeks. In the meantime I have all enquiries from interested parties on file and when we do receive formal sale instructions we will be able to allow the necessary inspections to be carried out. However, at the moment I am not in a position to advise on the sale procedures; i.e. the price; whether the Trust wish to dispose of a part or all of their property; whether they wish to sell the freehold interest or create a leasehold; the proposed method of sale

- private treaty, tender or auction.

I know that the length of this process is very frustrating; for us as much as anyone, but please be assured that we will do all that we can to expedite matters as quickly as possible.

Planning Agent”

Update 14th May 2010

Sir,

Cllr Ron Whittaker's fears about the future of the historic United Reformed Church and Manse house, both late Georgian era listed buildings set in the heart of the Throop Village conservation area, are shared by Bournemouth Civic Society. It is a sad irony that I recall meetings held in the church hall some twenty years ago, organised by the local residents association and supported by the local councillors, including Cllr Ron, where I and the Civic Society joined them in campaigning about threats to other local listed buildings including The Shack, The Piggery, Muccleshell Farm, Throop House and Throop Mill plus of course the ever present plans for building on the green belt land hereabouts.

At that time and untill recently, the Church was a busy hub of the village and now whilst most of the buildings we worried about then have been restored and brought back to life by caring owners, it is the church and Manse that are threatened by what seems to be abandonment.

Coincidentally English Heritage has recently announced a new national campaign - Heritage at Risk, Places of Worship and is undertaking a survey on threats and challenges the results of which will be published in summer.

The Civic Society has taken part in the survey and highlighted the problem besetting Throop Church and Manse and asked for any help and advice that English Heritage can provide to encourage the owners to bring the building back to life.

We urge residents to support Cllr Ron's campaign and to check our respective websites for further information.

Kenneth Mantock FRSA

Chairman-Bournemouth Civic Society

Letter from Councillor Ron Whittaker on the Throop Congregational Church, Church Hall, Muscliff Lane and The Manse, 209 Broadway Lane to The United Reform Church, Southampton

Letter