Redevelopment of Central Hall in Partnership with Hope Community School:
In October, New Community Network lodged a bid with the Department for Education to redevelop Central Hall as the permanent home for the new Hope Community School. As part of this project, new accommodation would also have been developed for the church, so that the two organisations would be situated alongside each other on the same site.
The Department for Education commented that they had a high level of confidence in our capability to finance and conduct our proposed development, and we really appreciate all of you who have helped us get to this point; your help, support and belief has been invaluable in enabling us to achieve this kind of response.
A decision has now been made by the Department for Education, and they have opted for another site for the school; one which would be more cost-effective for them to develop, and would also allow them to purchase the freehold of the site. This site they have chosen is on Chapel Road, and its proximity to Central Hall is really positive for the ongoing partnership between the school and the church. This partnership is unaffected by the decision not to locate the school at Central Hall, and we are really looking forward to working with the school over the next 125 years.
The future of Central Hall:
The process of lodging the bid has helped us consider the future of Central Hall in a fresh way. We are aware that keeping the building exactly as it is, with all the costs associated with maintaining an ageing building, is not the best use of our resources, so the bid process has helped us to think more creatively about the future of Central Hall.
The Strategy Team are currently investigating other redevelopment options for the building, in order to find possible solutions that would meet the needs of the church, serve the local community, and secure a stable, long-term income that would enable Central Hall to become financially self-sustaining. The team's initial investigations look really promising, and they will hopefully be able to share more next year about the potential opportunities.
We're really excited about the possibilities for the future, and have been so encouraged by the continued commitment and support of the church community. If you have expressed interest in offering a covenant loan, we hope to be able offer more opportunities to support New Community Network in this way in the coming months. In the meantime, please continue to stand with us in prayer as we seek the best options for the future.