At the belated start of the belated campaign to save St Hilda’s Church, Shiregreen, Sheffield I knew a good deal less about the byzantine workings of the Church Commissioners than I now do.
As the scaffolding goes up to begin destroying St Hilda’s, I’ve learned that to develop the land on which an Anglican church has stood requires unusual tenacity.
The conditions of sale demand that a prospective purchaser has a practical business plan and planning permission for the proposed development.
Planning permission involves a significant amount of expensive professional support.
Then, I’ve discovered, the prospective purchaser has to demolish the church building before they can purchase it.
Clearly, this requires nerves of steel and a great deal of faith, because it can cost close on a six-figure sum even to create an empty site.
I hope whatever goes up in place of St Hilda’s looks at least as good.