Eastbourne church may be converted to flats

First Church of Christ Scentist in Spencer Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190620-080351008
First Church of Christ Scentist in Spencer Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190620-080351008

A town centre church could be converted into seven apartments because the number of worshippers is “no more than Jesus’s disciples”.

A planning application has been put in to Eastbourne council for the former First Church of Christ Scientist church building and reading room in Spencer Road.

The plan is to add another floor within the building and convert it to provide seven self-contained residential flats.

In a letter with the application, church officials said from September 2015 the group was registered as the Christian Science Society Eastbourne.

Chair of the board of trustees Dr Jean Whitbread said, “Our reasons for the change was that with a declining elderly congregation, we no longer had the 16 members required for a Christian Science branch church under the rules of our religious denomination. Membership has further declined and is no more than Jesus’s 12 disciples. All members are retired, some live out of the district and others are no longer fit enough to attend services.”

Dr Whitbread said the last service in the building was held in February this year and the remaining members were meeting for an informal Sunday service in a room at the Lansdowne Hotel.

A design and access statement with the application also said, “The proposal seeks to maximise the use of this redundant building in providing seven valuable units of accommodation in this town centre location.”