To ensure the future financial sustainability or alternatively look at specific projects, the Parish has decided to sell the land currently occupied by the tennis courts. We have also wanted to look at other alternatives for the use of the land to support those objectives and use our resources for the mission of the Church.
As the vestry we have started to look at possible development opportunities for the land. It is crucial that we not only consider what could be built on the land, but to also consider finances, legal ramifications, and the alignment with the church’s mission and values. I thought we needed some advice and clarity on options. The Urban Advisory is a group that works on urban development and housing projects that are not mainly profit-focused. One of its directors will be in Christchurch in late July and could work with us to bring some clarity on how we could meet our objectives through relevant legal and commercial structures that allow for continued input by the Parish.
An objective that I see for the Church is to use the land so that we could receive some immediate financial return and then some continuing income, retain some underlying interest in (parts of) the land, and ensure that any development aligns with our mission to the community. These objectives can be met by choosing the right commercial and legal structures and the right partners. However, we need to be clear what can realistically be done to align such projects with our vision. For example, can we have a shared garden where residents and parish members work together? Can we have a residential area that encourages the meeting of young and old? Can we have a neighbourhood meeting room? Can we integrate the (future) vicarage into any development? Should houses be visually orientated towards the church? Do we want to provide some housing for …(poorer, disabled, older, younger people; students, families)?
Greer O’Donnell can be with us on Wednesday evening, 21 July 2021, beginning at 6.30pm. I encourage all who are able to be there to come to that meeting, to be held in the parish lounge.