Trewellard Sunday School to be auctioned
Trewellard Sunday School to be auctioned on 9 September in Exeter through Stratton Creber. People will know that, with my Chair of Lands End Peninsula Community Land Trust hat on, and as a local resident, I have been watching the sad demise of the Sunday school and had conversations about either temporary or permanent transfer of the asset for community benefit. Back in 2010 through to 2012, the Trust’s interest was in work spaces and allotments. Legal complications and the need for the Methodist circuit to maximise their assets meant no real conversations took place but the building deteriorated.
Earlier this year, still with my Land Trust hat on but as the local councillor too, I was approached to see whether the Trust would be interested/ could raise the money to buy the site, with a view to providing affordable housing for local people. As it was likely going to auction and no agreements could be reached to wait for a planning application, this was not an option for the Trust, a registered charity.
Talking to others, a small community group emerged looking to raise the cash to buy it, pre-auction so that it would remain in community ownership. It became clear that housing on the field would not be well supported locally. As a result of a previous blog I have been contacted by 4 community minded individuals each looking to relocate to this part of Cornwall who would also be willing to discuss some community use/ access to the field and even possibly part of the building. I did wonder whether some pre-auction deal could be struck but today I have had it confirmed, by the agent, that it will proceed to auction and presumably go to the highest bidder.
There is still a prospect that the building will get a sympathetic new owner to respect its past but invest in it to give it a new future. There is also still a possibility that the new owner will be a community minded sole and still like the idea of the field being allotments and/ or a community garden. However, unless some-one wants to attend the auction, with a blank cheque, it is unlikely the community will get a complete say in the future of the site.
We will have to await September to see what the future holds for this historic landmark.