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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 October 2006, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Former church to become new homes
An old church, which has stood empty for nearly 40 years, is to be converted into homes as part of a special scheme to bring empty buildings back into use.

Gospel Hall in Patchway, South Gloucestershire, was built in 1885 and used by the local Baptist movement for services until 1915.

It was then used as a Sunday School and meeting place up to 1969.

Under the council's Empty Homes Grant Scheme, the church will be converted into two new two-bedroomed homes.

'Wasted resource'

The scheme involves the owners of an empty property leasing it back to the council for a below-market level rent.

The council then manages the property, carries out repairs and guarantees rent regardless of any time it is not occupied and its condition on return to the landlord.

It helps the council meet demand for affordable housing, brings empty buildings back into use, therefore discouraging crime and anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Maggie Tyrrell said: "In South Gloucestershire, demand for homes is high and empty properties are a wasted resource.

"They often deteriorate quickly, can become a target for crime and vandals and can blight local communities, in addition to costing their owners money in charges and maintenance.

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03 Oct 06 |  North East Wales
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13 Jun 06 |  Hereford/Worcs

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