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By Tristan Harris Wednesday 15 January 2014 Updated: 15/01 22:10
THE OWNER of a Bromsgrove consulting, civil and structural engineering firm has bought the town's former United Reformed Church to ensure the historic building's long-term future.
The property on Windsor Street, built in 1832, closed its doors in June, bringing to an end 341 years of there being a United Reformed Church in the town.
The church, along with the Sunday school building, was up for sale for a combined £130,000 and the agent confirmed the fee was above the asking price when the deal was completed on Friday (January 10).
Simon Crook from Shire Consulting said the company had bought it as a renovation, investment and development project.
The firm has extensive experience of renovating and structurally repairing historic properties.
"We have worked closely with conservation architects and English Heritage on projects, including manor houses, castles
"We have also given advice on structural problems to many churches in the Bromsgrove area."
Shire Consulting's head office is at The Chapel, Barnsley Hall Road, which formed part of the Barnsley Hall asylum site. It was derelict when Shire bought it and the firm designed, supervised and carried out the renovation of it.
With regard to the former United Reformed Church Mr Crook said the property was known to have serious structural and subsidence problems and the first phase was for expert structural engineers from Shire to assess the building and see what needed doing it to make it safe and weather-tight.
He told The Standard it was important to secure the buildings' long-term future.
"I live near the buildings and walked past them everyday.
"We believe our experience with historic buildings, knowledge of foundation strengthening and our experience of church renovation puts us in a unique position to carry out a sympathetic renovation of these properties."
The agent stated the former church had been sold for a non-religious purpose and Mr Crook added he was not yet sure what the building would be used for in the future.
He said after the building had been made structurally sound, he would be meeting with Bromsgrove District Council's conservation department to discuss its future options.
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