Townhouses to replace Stoke church

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 14:48 11/07/2014

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The Stoke Methodist Church in Neale Ave has sold and will soon be making way for a planned townhouse development.

Church leader Gary Clover confirmed the 49-year-old church had sold and that the closing service was held last Sunday.

Scott Construction managing director Justin Candish said it was controlling the project, that included demolishing the earthquake-prone church, and was looking to build townhouses on the site.

He said the building had been assessed as having a poor seismic strength rating and was only 16 per cent of the new building standard.

The church has been singled out in the past as a good example of the modern basilican form and is built of concrete, concrete block and stone walls with convex rood behind false palisades.

Candish said the cost to strengthen the building was too great, but many parts of it, including its feature stained glass window, would be recycled.

Methodist leaders put the church and 1116 square metre site on the market late last year, to raise funds to develop infrastructure best suited to the needs of its community.

Clover said earlier that proceeds from the sale would be used to upgrade the church's youth block, which included the church hall, to meet new building standards.

Candish said the valuable stained glass window had been donated back to the congregation to be re-used in the upgraded hall. Other parts of the church, including structures made of native timber, would be recycled.

Clover said last year when the building was placed on the market that the Methodist church had an emphasis on constructing theological buildings more focused on function than style or heritage, to adapt to changing needs.

In August last year church leaders unanimously said the church in Neale Ave was no longer meeting the congregation's needs.

"It had to go for the simple reason we need the capital to upgrade the youth block and hall so we can re-use the building and turn it into a 21st century place of worship and community centre, Clover said at the time.

He said they had been commended by the national association of the Methodist church for the decision to sell.

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- The Nelson Mail

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