St John the Evangelist Church, Coleford
Czero is planning to convert the former church of St John the Baptist, Coleford into twelve spacious and attractive apartments, giving residents the opportunity to share in a little piece of history. Interesting features of the listed building will be retained, creating unusual and interesting spaces throughout the development.
A key consideration of Czero’s proposals for the church is not to over develop the site. While a conversion to 30+ apartments might have been possible, this would be a strain on local services, traffic and parking around the building. The development is therefore limited to just 12 apartments arranged over three floors, with parking within the church grounds.
The church building itself, a feature on the skyline, will be given a new lease of life, once again making a positive contribution to Coleford.
The detailed designs have been drawn up by Astley Towne Architects, supported by 3D modelling from Czero. The apartments range in size from 70 m² up to 200 m², with apartment 4 being a spectacular four bed apartment benefitting from the full height of the East window.
Czero’s planning application was submitted by Astley Towne Architects and accepted by Forest of Dean District Council (P0965/22/LBC). We expect to have a decision on planning for the church in the first half of 2024.
History of Closure
Worship in the church ceased in 2012 and the building was formally closed on 16 July 2016. The building has been on the English Heritage ‘at-risk’ Register since the 1980’s – nearly 40 years. The Diocese of Gloucester and Church of England actively marketed the building for other uses over the last five years. The uses were primarily focussed on business and community uses but without success.
The principal issue in terms of viability is that none of the desired uses had long term sustainability and the cost of conversion would be considerably more than the value of the use when completed. Grants from Heritage Lottery Funding and the Princes Trust were not forthcoming and other funders take their lead from them. Whilst people cared about the building caring isn’t sufficient to conserve it.
The Diocese had to reconsider their position and put the property back on the market, also having appeared on the Church of England’s own website. Although a local group “The Friends of St John’s” had campaigned to prevent the church from closure, only one local community group expressed an interest in 2018. The Diocese gave the group an opportunity to develop their proposal/business plan, but that interest could not be sustained.
In 2020 the marketing was expanded to add the national agent Alder King as joint agent. Since then, a number of enquiries were received by the agents, all for residential use. Czero Developments made an enquiry based on experience of dealing with conversion of historic buildings, including churches. As the church is no longer viable as a place of worship and community uses are not financially sustainable, then as long as the structure and integrity of the building is maintained and the physical impact of any such change of use is minimal and reversible then residential conversion should be a suitable option. Czero’s proposal not only ensures that the building is not demolished but the structure, significance and integrity of the building will be conserved almost intact using the ‘Principles of Conservation’.
Czero is planning to convert the former church of St John the Baptist, Coleford into nine spacious and attractive apartments, giving residents the opportunity to share in a little piece of history. Interesting features of the listed building will be retained, creating unusual and interesting spaces throughout the development.
Project Type: Conversion
Location: St John the Evangelist Church, 40 Boxbush Rd, Coleford GL16 8DN