Crossman Homes has been granted planning permission and listed Building Consent for the conversion of Masters Church in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire into 19 apartments, the erection of three new build homes and the creation of a new park area.

The site is adjacent to the Whitfield Tabernacle, one of the most at risk Grade One listed buildings in the UK. The iconic building dates back to 1741 and is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Methodist movement.

Brad Hughes, Crossman Homes said: “We’re delighted to have been given the green light so we can begin building this incredibly exciting development. The scheme will also create a brand-new open space for the community to enjoy so we’re looking forward to seeing that take shape. And we’re honoured to be able to play a part in helping save the Whitfield Tabernacle, supporting the Trust bring this iconic building back to life.”

In addition to the conversion of Masters Church, Crossman Homes has pledged to assist in the renovation and rebuilding of the neighbouring derelict burnt out shell of the Whitfield Tabernacle, working closely with the Whitfield Tabernacle Trust which was formed in October 2017.

Local MP Chris Skidmore, who has previously secured funding from Historic England for the Tabernacle, said: “The Whitfield Tabernacle site is the historic jewel in Kingswood’s crown and is of huge international significance. It’s a disgrace that the site looks the way it does and that this has gone on for so long. Kingswood residents have waited long enough for this site to be properly restored so it can contribute to and celebrate our town’s proud history.

“Having held various meetings over the years with Historic England, the Council, Tabernacle Trustees and more recently with new site owners Crossman Homes, I am pleased to see this application come forward and that it has approval from council planners. Having been born and brought up in Kingswood, I have never know a time when there has been so much momentum behind finally investing in this site as part of a wider regeneration of our much-loved High Street.”

The site, previously owned by PG Group, has lain dormant for many years due to its challenging layout, complicated planning issues and unviability concerns. Crossman Homes is working closely with South Gloucestershire Council planners and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to sympathetically restore and protect existing graves on the site to create a brand-new community space which Crossman Homes will gift back to the Council on completion for locals to use and enjoy.

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council says: “I am so pleased this application has been granted planning permission and that work can begin to recycle previously used land, delivering new housing, public facilities and ultimately a renewed and rejuvenated Tabernacle.

“These are major components of the Council’s vision for delivering a community-driven transformation of Kingswood High Street, supported through Mayor Bowles’ and West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Street initiative.”

Work on site is expected to start in December 2019.