Home West London Brent church, nursery, and foodbank shocked as they are ‘heartlessly evicted without...

Brent church, nursery, and foodbank shocked as they are ‘heartlessly evicted without warning’ to make way for new flats

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Members of a North West London community church have been left reeling after they were evicted without notice by developers so they could build flats. They claim that Fruition property developers entered The Pentecostal City Mission Church at 7.30am on Wednesday morning (March 23) and changed the locks without proper notice.

Reverend Desmond Hall of the Pentecostal City Mission Church said he was “shocked and saddened” by the “heartlessness” of the act, which left parents unable to drop off their children at the nursery, and staff unable to retrieve personal belongings.

The sudden closure of The Pentecostal City Mission Church, a long-time occupier of 2 Scrubs Lane, Willesden, is said to have left a “vital community lifeline” in “jeopardy”. The registered community asset will no longer be able to operate its nursery, foodbank, dementia care and other local community services from the building.

Fruition Properties received planning permission to develop the area in 2017. The church says that critical to that permission was that Fruition secured replacement space for the Pentecostal City Mission Church and associated community services as part of the new development, as stated in the planning policy outline by the local planning authority, The Mayor’s Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

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The sudden closure of the Pentecostal City Mission Church happened on Wednesday morning (March 23)

The OPDC, local MP Andy Slaughter, the Greater London Authority’s Culture at Risk team and other community groups have all been campaigning to save the church and the services it provides to one of London’s most disadvantaged communities.

Reverend Desmond Hall of Pentecostal City Mission Church said: “We are shocked and saddened that Fruition took possession of this beloved church and vital lifeline for so many community members. As well as a valued place of worship, many families and young children rely on us for support services and food donations.

“During busy times, we can cater to up to a 1,000 people across one day. What will they do now that Fruition have changed the locks We won’t give up hope and with the support of the community, we’ll continue to fight for Pentecostal City Mission Church.”

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Volunteers at The Pentecostal City Mission Church

David Lunts, CEO of OPDC said: “It is shocking that Fruition Properties have evicted the church. It’s hard to believe that with so much local need for services such as this, especially at a time of increasing hardship, any developer could act with such heartlessness.

“It’s all the more outrageous as our planning policy makes quite clear that space for the church and its community facilities must be part of any redevelopment. I have attempted to engage with Fruition to seek an amicable resolution with the Church, but they have refused to meet.”

Andy Slaughter MP for Hammersmith said: “It’s unacceptable and quite frankly unbelievable news to hear that a developer has evicted a church, nursery and foodbank at a time where so many families are under financial strain to put food on the table. I have made my position to Fruition abundantly clear on numerous occasions and they have refused to meet to reach a solution, despite the planning policy clearly requiring provision for the church.”

85 flats and a new church planned for the area

According to Fruition Properties’ website, they are planning 85 flats, more commercial space, a new church and nursery, and other “community facilities” for the area. There will be a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom flats, with 35 per cent earmarked as affordable, with 12 flats set at London Living Rent and 16 for shared ownership. They say they have “worked closely” with the church as well as the GLA and OPDC.

To build the development, the existing buildings will be demolished entirely, leaving the church and the services it runs without a base in between the demolition and the end of construction.

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/brent-church-nursery-foodbank-shocked-23511333