New lease of life for former church

St Leonards Congregational Church
St Leonards Congregational Church

A FORMER church which has lain empty for several years has a new owner who plans to breath new life into the building.

The Grade II listed St Leonards Congregational Church, in London Road, St Leonards, was bought last month by Ellen Gordon, a property developer from Stockwell, in London.

She took on the mammoth project to restore and renovate the church despite raised eyebrows from friends and relatives, and plans to use the main building into a space for events, from book readings, theatre productions, stand up comedy and open mic nights to the renewal of wedding vows, as well as private hire.

There is also the possibility of developments in other parts of the premises, such as the scout hut being turned into tourist accomodation.

This is not a project with quick fixes and it is likely to be two years before the building is ready.

She said: “I have been to Hastings a few times and know the area.

“I have experience of doing renovations and wanted to do one last one.”

She said that when considering the project, she looked at various different buildings but came to the conclusion that St Leonards Congregational Church was the right one in the right place.

“It’s so central, and you can just walk down the road to the sea,” Ellen said.

The church was built in 1863, and closed in 2008 after falling out of use. The last service was held in 2002.

Follow progress, or get in touch with Ellen through her website