A LANDMARK Blackbird Leys Church has unveiled extensive redevelopment plans that will see much of the current building demolished and rebuilt.

The distinctive 1960s Holy Family Church in Blackbird Leys Road has become no longer fit for purpose and will be pulled down, if the £8million plans are given the go-ahead.

In its place a new church building will be built with a roof terrace and new entranceway.

The Oxford Times:

The curved shape of the original building will be mirrored in the new build and a block of flats will be built on the lawn next door, including a new vicarage.

Church trustee Denise Morrey said the decision was made to undertake the huge project after it was revealed the roof of the old building alone would cost £500,000 to fix.

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The church has been dogged with maintenance problems for years, restricting what it can do for the community, and Ms Morrey said she hoped the changes will allow it to open up more of its space to local groups.

Volunteers have had to use paddling pools and buckets to catch rainwater leaking in from outside and the dampness has led to fungal growth.

It was declared a 'dangerous structure' by an engineer late last year and Church services have had to be held in a smaller hall.

Ms Morrey said: "It is a 1960s building and it is not fit for purpose.

"People have so far been positive about what we want to do, I think they realise it can't go on in its current state."

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The church was consecrated by the Bishop of Oxford in April 1965 and is not listed.

It was designed in the shape of a heart by Colin Shewring, a radical architect, to reflect his inclusive and open ideas.

At the time members of the community donated money to fund the bricks to create the curving wall and the church has been a central part of the estate ever since, hosting hundreds of baptisms, weddings and funerals.

The popular Communi-tea cafe has served Caribbean food since 2016 and continues to go from 'strength to strength', according to Ms Morrey.

She added that part of the reason to build the block of 10 one bed and 10 two bed flats next door was to fund the project.

It is hoped that £100,000 will be raised from the local community with £2.5million coming from grants.

An external partner will be brought on board to build the flats.