A Banbury church featuring multi-coloured bricks selected by individual congregation members will be included as part of a new affordable housing scheme.
Cherwell District Council has purchased land from the The Fairway Methodist Church to deliver 11 new shared ownership houses as part of its award-winning Build! project.
To accommodate the development, the council will demolish the existing outdated church facility and replace it with a new, more efficient purpose built building.
Councillor John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said: “A key aspect of our Build! project is to provide affordable housing opportunities for local residents and where possible, we will always strive to do this on brownfield or redundant sites.
“In this case, although the church building itself was being used by the congregation, a lot of the surrounding land was going to waste and the church was rundown, expensive to manage and in need of repair.
The site was purchased by Cherwell District Council to deliver 11 two and three bedroom houses which will be available on a shared ownership basis through its Build! project. Homes will be completed to a watertight shell and with internal works, such as decorating and installing kitchen units, will be undertaken by the residents in exchange for a discount on their share of the purchase price.
To accommodate the homes, the existing church will be demolished and replaced with a two-storey purpose built church. In designing the building, members of the congregation were each asked to choose a colour and position for a single brick on the building facades.
Preparatory work for the demolition of the church will take place this month ahead of work starting on the new building in January. Work on the 11 homes is set to begin in the spring.
Mr Donaldson said: “This project will provide an ideal solution for all concerned; as a council we will be able to deliver houses to our residents. For the future occupiers they will be given a unique opportunity to get a foot on the housing ladder. And although the church will lose its existing building, it will be replaced with a modern, purpose built property that will be more energy efficient and suitable to the needs of the congregation.”
For more information on the Build! project visit www.cherwell.gov.uk/build