Plans to demolish grade two listed church approved

  • Video report by ITV Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney


Plans to demolish a grade two listed church in Oxford have been approved.

The Church of the Holy Family in Blackbird Leys was built in 1965, but long standing problems with its roof mean the building has now been condemned.

A new church will be built in its place, but campaigners say the unusual structure should be saved as its loved by the local community.

The roof started leaking just 5 years after the church opened and it's since already been replaced Credit: ITV Meridian

When The Church of the Holy Family was built, its rounded brick walls and curvy roof would have been cutting-edge design.

However, it started leaking just 5 years after the church opened, and since then, the roof has already been replaced.

Surveyors checked the roof in 2018 and found huge quantities of rainwater trapped in the ceiling.

The Rev Heather Carter, Vicar, Church of the Holy Family says she remembers the structural engineer saying "we need to get off this roof now because it's unstable."


Hundreds of gallons of water just poured into the church on top of me

The Rev Heather Carter, Vicar, Church of the Holy Family

The deterioration has now causing structural damage, and the building has been condemned.

Huge relief was shared by many, when plans to knock it down and rebuild a new church, were at last approved.

As well as being a place of worship, the new building will also have a cafe, community space and 20 flats.

The council is also planning to redevelop other parts of the Blackbird Leys estate.

The design for the new building includes a cafe, community space and 20 flats

The Rev Heather Carter, Vicar, Church of the Holy Family said: "We were very keen that it once again becomes the heartbeat of the local community."

"Instead of just being a church that gets used on Sundays, it will be a building that gets used 7 days a week."

  • The Rev Heather Carter, Vicar, Church of the Holy Family:

The Church still has to raise several million pounds to pay for the works.

If the funding and construction all goes smoothly, it's hoped the work could be completed by early 2023.