Sale of century-old St Andrew’s Church raises eyebrows

2012-01-31 00:00

THE sale of a century-old church has put noses out of joint in the Midlands.

Mike Phillips wishes there had been more public participation in the sale of the St Andrew’s Church at Hidcote.

He told The Witness his grandfather built it and that his great uncle donated the land for it.

Nick Kerr, parish priest of St Paul’s in Mooi River, under whose juristiction St Andrew’s falls, said all proper procedures had been followed.

“If we had to consult everyone with a connection to St Andrew’s, we’d have been contacting people all over the world,” he said.

Kerr added that he had only recently heard about Phillips being upset.

A Phillips relative said family members are buried on the grounds, which should also be a resting place for future generations.

“We do not wish to see the land subdivided for any reason, but to remain as an entity.”

The church’s legal adviser, Nigel Tatham, said that although the land would be subdivided, in general terms he saw no reason why future generations should not be buried there.

Phillips’s other concern was that the church be kept for spiritual activities.

“We are fighting for our heritage here,” said Phillips.

“We understand that circumstances change.

“But we would like to be assured that the church be kept and used for spiritual activities.”

Tatham said that would indeed be happening as the buyer wanted St Andrew’s to be used as a retreat for clergy.

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