By Sharon Webb
THE ANGLICAN Parish of Deloraine plans to build eight villas on land adjacent to St Mark’s Church to cover its funding obligation to the National Redress Scheme for children sexually abused in institutions.
St Mark’s minister, Reverend Joshua Skeat, said the land on East Westbury Place in Deloraine, historically known as the Saleyards, and St Saviour’s Church in Meander originally had been listed for sale by Tasmania’s Anglican Diocese to cover the parish’s obligation.
‘There has always been a desire in the parish to utilize the land rather than simply selling it,’ he said.
‘The church wardens and the parish council also wanted to talk with the Meander community about the use of their church building, which hasn’t been used for services since April 2017,’ he said.
‘We paid the redress money out of parish funds, giving us time to make decisions.’ While discussions with the Meander community are ongoing, the parish council decided to take advantage of an offer by developers, Traders in Purple, to help develop the Saleyards land.
‘We want to sell six villas and keep two to solidify parish finances,’ Reverend Skeat said. ‘The money raised will replace the parish funds used for redress and St Mark’s Church needs repair.
‘Local real estate agents advised us that two-bedroom units are in demand to buy and rent in Deloraine. We’d like to rent out the two villas we keep, pricing them at the lower end of the rental market to give families and couples affordable, secure accommodation in a desirable location.
’ Traders in Purple, the company behind Ridgeside Lane in Evandale and Kingston Park in Kingston, worked with the parish to lodge a planning application with Meander Valley Council.
Director Charles Daoud said that while supporting redress for people who experienced institutional abuse is important, retaining significant places like St Saviour’s was also important.
‘If there are ways of achieving both they should be explored,’ he said. ‘The history of St Saviour’s is one reason Traders in Purple reached out to help the Deloraine Parish and the Meander community.
‘It was designed by the local architect H.H. Freeman, who also designed Deloraine’s historic home, Arcoona. It was built in 1896 by Exton contractors Reilly’s for £140 and the altar donated by wardens of All Saints in Hobart.
‘There is also a significant burial ground on St Saviour’s grounds. Hopefully this now means its preservation is guaranteed.’
Mr Daoud said the project is sensitive to its surroundings and sense of place and will not visually impact St Mark’s Church. ‘The proposal respects the significant historic value to the point that the single-storey villas have been designed to retain important view corridors to the church.’
The Vicar-General of the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania, The Right Reverend Dr Chris Jones, said he appreciates that if the application is approved St Saviour’s Church will not need to be sold but will remain a community asset.
‘I commend the parish for its creative response,’ he said. ‘I am also greatly encouraged the parish is seeking to be a blessing to its community by providing low income housing in Deloraine.’
Traders in Purple, along with Rytenskild Traffic Engineering, MRC Engineering, Lange Design, Michael Jirku Architecture and PDA Surveyors, are working pro bono to deliver the project.
If approved, work will begin in early 2020, estimated to complete in November 2020. St Mark’s Church plans to build eight units to contribute to the National Redress Scheme for children sexually abused in institutions.