In April Vestry submitted three proposals for the development of the tennis court land to the Diocesan Standing Committee and Church Property Trustees for feedback and comment. These options were:
- working with the Christchurch Methodist Mission to set up affordable rental accommodation for older people.
- working with a commercial developer, who would sell townhouses and at the same time incorporate a vicarage into the area. We had some preliminary communication with a developer who would offer high environmental specifications and superior aesthetic qualities
- partner with a trust to set up an Anglican Christian High School. This would have involved a part-sale of the land to finance the school and part retention of land for the school.
Standing Committee and Church Property Trustees have now given their feedback. They both support working with the Christchurch Methodist Mission. They do not support the other options. Standing Committee and Church Property Trustees prefer selling the entire land to the Methodist Mission apart from some portions retained for the Vicarage and a gift to the Bishopric Estate.
Vestry has considered the feedback from Standing Committee and Church Property Trustees and is pursuing the option to work with the Christchurch Methodist Mission. However, Vestry would prefer a part-sale, part-lease of the land, which the Methodist Mission would be prepared to pursue. Vestry was also clear that the small area we agreed to retain for church and missional purposes (behind the Youth Centre) when discussing the Habitus proposal would be retained by the Parish under any agreement with the Methodist Mission. The Diocese has requested that the Parish gift either some land or cash to the Bishopric Estate. Vestry has agreed to consider this, insisting in turn on a more co-operative approach rather than adversarial decision-making from the Diocesan bodies. Vestry also has agreed not to insist on retaining the large London plane tree on the property, as this would lower the value of the land considerably. The Christchurch Methodist Mission has done some work on the proposal and will now requir