Save Britain’s Heritage (SBH) is mounting a judicial review challenge to proposals for the demolition of a ‘historic’ Presbyterian chapel in the heart of an area targeted for a major housing renewal project.
The campaign group is attacking a decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that a detailed environmental impact assessment will not be required prior to the planned demolition of the 107-year-old chapel, in Springfield Road, Klondyke, Sefton, Merseyside.
Lawyers representing SBH argue that the demolition proposals should be seen as part and parcel of Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council’s plans for the transformation of the Klondyke area as part of a housing market renewal programme.
SBH submits that the chapel is a key part of the local scene and, if preserved, could become a community centre and an important hub for the neighbourhood.
The Secretary of State’s legal team argues that the removal of the chapel should be seen as a ‘stand-alone project for demolition for safety reasons’ that had been judged on its own individual merits. They point to the chapel’s current derelict state and a history of arson attacks on the property.
The case will now go ahead for a full judicial review hearing at the High Court after Mr Justice Walker ruled that SBH’s challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision, whilst not ‘bound to succeed’, was at least ‘arguable.