A LANDMARK church which has been up for sale since summer 2011 has been bought by the owners of a local nursery school.

The Methodist Church in Cambridge Park Wanstead is more than 130 years old, but has stood empty since May 2010.

A succession of prospective buyers have viewed the old building which has now been sold to the owners of the Treehouse Nursery, who already run a nursery in Woodbine place and an after-school and holiday care centre on Grosvenor Road.

They have paid close to £900,000 for the church and are also spending a substantial sum on renovating the interior and restoring the exterior.

Paul Samouelle of Treehouse Nursery said the new centre, which will have room for 120 children, would open in September and create at least 30 new jobs.

He added: “We are delighted that we have been able to acquire this historic building and continue its use as a place which serves the community while maintaining its exterior.”

More than 100 people attended the last service in Cambridge Park after the church decided it could no longer afford to maintain the old building.

The congregation has since merged with the Methodist Church in Hermon Hill.

Reverend Charles Ilunga has been minister at that church for two years.

He said: “We wanted it to be sold to a group that would use it as a church.

“But if it is going to be used as a nursery that is fine because it will help the community in a positive way.”

And eighty-year-old Sheila Vickers, who was a member of the congregation in Cambridge Park for 70 years, also gave the nursery her blessing.

She said: “I’m sad that we can no longer worship there because I love every single stick and stone of the place.

“But I used to run a toddlers group in the hall, and I’m glad it will be used for the benefit of children.”

Neville Bamford, a chartered surveyor at the firm Petty Son and Prestwich, is representing the Treehouse Nursery.

He said: “I think they will now become one of Wanstead’s biggest employers.

“This is very good news for the area.”