Church seeks to save Harleston community facility
South Norfolk’s Hope Church is campaigning to stop a disused club in Harleston from being demolished, so it can be saved and turned it into a church and community facility.
An online petition set up by Hope Church to stop the demolition of the Apollo Church in Harleston has received over 800 signatories and counting.
Hope Church already holds Sunday services in Harleston at the Archbishop Sancroft High School but would like a more permanent base where they can further serve the community.
Graham Blake, Hope Church Team Leader, said: “In Diss, we’ve got a purpose-built centre which is used for all our church activities but also doubles up as a community centre. Many people in the community use it for Foodbank, birthday parties, sports clubs, the NHS. What we’d like to do is replicate that in Harleston. We’d like to repurpose the Apollo Club and turn it back into a community hub.”
However after attempting to purchase the disused club at the full asking price the church were refused.
Graham said: “When the Apollo was put on the market for a guide price of £380k we offered the full asking price. Members of the church had pledged about £170k within two weeks. But they basically came back and said we don’t want to sell. The reason is because they want to knock it down and redevelop it for retirement homes.”
The church has worked to have the building registered as a community asset which means redevelopment can’t occur within the next five years but the owners have got planning permission to demolish the property.
“But we don’t want them to demolish it,” Graham said. “We want them to change their minds. We’d really like to save it. We want to set up church and all the activities a church would do – from youth and children, serving the community and foodbank.”
Graham would encourage as many people from South Norfolk and across Norfolk to sign the petition as possible. “The more local people the better to see if we can save it,” he said.
You can sign Hope Church’s online petition here.