WANSTEAD: Nursery owners expect planning permission to convert church (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WANSTEAD: Nursery owners expect planning permission to convert church
THE nursery owners who bought a 130-year-old church say they don’t anticipate any problems getting planning permission to turn the building into a school.
Paul Samouelle and Maria Sanchez who own the Treehouse nursery have paid around £900,000 for the Methodist Church on Cambridge Park and have begun clearing it.
The couple already run a nursery in the former Wanstead Technical School in Woodbine Place which dates back to 1912.
They also own another of Wanstead’s historic buildings the Grove Hall, which they bought from the United Reformed Church in Grosvenor Road.
Mr Samouelle said: “We do not have to register for a change of use.
“But we will put an application in because we are planning on putting another floor in and making changes to some of the walls.”
The couple plan to open the nursery in September and are expecting to provide places for 120 children.
They also say they will create between 30 and 40 new jobs which would bring their total number of employees to over 100.
Despite that, Mr Samouelle said he did not anticipate any issues with parking in Cambridge Park, Woodbine Place or any of the nearby roads.
He explained: “The majority of parents who use our nursery don’t drive their children, they walk.
“I would be very surprised and upset if the council caused any problems over parking issues.”
Mr Samouelle also revealed that the couple faced stiff competition from another bidder who wanted to knock the old building down.
He said: “I am a great lover of Wanstead’s historic buildings and the exterior will remain exactly the same.”
But he did admit that he planned to sell the church’s old organ on eBay unless anyone came forward to say they wanted it.
Sheila Vickers, 80, who was a member of the congregation for 70 years, said: “I thought the organ had already been sold.
“I have vivid memories of my father playing it in church when I was quite young.
“I would be heartbroken if it was scrapped. I hope another church can give it a home.”
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