Friday, 14 May 2010

Welsh Presbyterian Chapel, Heathfield Road-Another One Bite The Dust.

Bethel Chapel will not be listed by English Heretics. It sits facing Penny Lane. Remember this is the city that incredibly knocked down the Cavern Club in Mathew Street, and then renamed itself Beatles City. English Heretics used the previous application to list as an assessment without visiting. The listing was supported by the c20 Society, The old Twentieth Century Society, thanks to the local North West Group, and Florence Gerstens SAVE OUR CITY campaign. 

A FOURTH attempt is being made to demolish one of the few remaining Welsh churches in Liverpool.

The Bethel Chapel, in Allerton, has been too big for its congregation for years – with space for 750, it is the largest remaining free church in the city.
But previous plans to create a smaller purpose-built place of worship on the same site have stalled on three occasions.
The last set of plans, including building 48 one and two-bedroom apartments, won planning permission but did not go ahead after a dispute with developers.
The Rev Dr David Ben Rees said the hard decision to demolish the main church, which dates back to 1926, had been taken because it could seat 750 people, but the congregation now only numbered 150. Demolishing the building would also avoid the need to spend between £60,000 and £70,000 repairing the church.
He said the church was still pondering what to do with the site once the church was demolished.
He said: “There will be a big gap for some time once the church is demolished. A lot of people have suggested flats for the elderly, but there is nothing certain at this moment in time. I will be very sorry to see it go. I have been preaching for 40 years in that church.”
He said attempts to get another institution to take over the church as a performance venue had proved fruitless.
If permission is granted to bulldoze the church, it will be pulled down in the summer.
The new chapel will cost around £500,000 and will see the congregation move away from the site temporarily for 18 months.


Church sued for £600k

3 November, 2006
Property developers take a church in Wales to court after it pulls out of scheme
A church in Wales is involved in an unholy row with two property developers after being accused of reneging on a building scheme.
Property developers Samuel Beilin and William Kearns say they have lost more than £600,000 after the Welsh church encouraged them to spend money on a scheme to develop the Bethel Chapel.
It is alleged that after spending four years funding planning permissions and development schemes, encouraged by the Properties Board of the Calvanistic Methodist Church of Wales, they received a letter pulling out of the scheme.
The church, also known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales, plans to sell the site to another developer and is likely to win planning permission after the work put in by the developers.
Mr Beilin, Mr Kearns, and TRB Estates (Liverpool) say they have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the scheme, and that the church pulled out of the project knowing it was likely the planning application would be granted.
Now the three are suing for “proprietary estoppel”, and are claiming damages for the loss of opportunity to develop the chapel, loss of profit, and for the expenses they have incurred.
They value their claim at more than £600,000, and are also suing Dr Benjamin Rees, of Bethel Chapel in Heathfield Road, Liverpool.
They had originally entered into arrangements with the church in April 2002, when the church asked them to develop the site. As a result they say they expected to be the developers of the scheme, and that the church encouraged them in this expectation.
Read more:


  1. Thanks for the low down, it is never simple and the full story behind this won't make the local papers.

  2. Florence tells me this is the sole survivor of a chapel where services were conducted in the Welsh language

  3. Never trust someone who doesn't have a scanner?


    Dont trust anyone with this blogger ID who will not even identify themself preferring to coward behin a pseudo..what a jokeer.




    Notice No.1 (Site DP205)

    To : The owner, lessee, tenant or occupier

    and to all other persons having or claiming or able to sell any estate or interest in the land
    described in the Schedule to this Notice and shown edged in red on the plan(s) attached to this Notice.

    The Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (hereinafter called “Merseytravel”)
    HEREBY GIVES YOU NOTICE that under and for the purposes of the above mentioned
    Order and the above-mentioned Act applied by that Order, Merseytravel requires to aquire
    or create the easements or other new rights described in the Schedule to this Notice in or over
    the land described in that Schedule and edged red on the plan(s) attached to this Notice,
    which easements or other new rights Merseytravel is authorised to aquire or create by
    articles 29, 32 and 34 of the above-mentioned Order for the purposes of exercising the powers
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    Merseytravel hereby demands particulars of your interest in the said land together
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    Merseytravel is willing to treat with you for the acquisition or creation of such easements or
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    DATED this 8th day of February 2010

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  6. Beautiful church

    I HAVE just heard on Radio Merseyside that the Bethel Church in Smithdown Place (Penny Lane) is to be pulled down because it is unsafe. Apparently the council has agreed to this, how very short sighted.

    This is the most beautiful building, in a very ordinary, in spite of it being the most famous suburb in the world. I have lived in this area all my life and have often thought how sad its potential was never realised; a fortune could be made out of businesses in the Penny Lane area attracting even more tourists to buy. However, if they are going to pull down all that is worthwhile there without attempting to resort to other means of keeping the best then what’s the point of having a tourist industry to look at big holes in the ground or modern developments? The Welsh chapel is the best there is and it would be a crime for it to be pulled down.

    Natalie Leigh, Allerton

    todays letters page 14.6.10


    15 June Letters page

    I UNDERSTAND that the world-famous Penny Lane area is to be enhanced by the council. The area has hundreds of tourists visiting it each day on the Beatles Tour Bus, and on public transport.

    It is, therefore, incomprehensible that the Council has just agreed to allow the Welsh Bethel Chapel, the best of one of the three churches in the area, to be demolished.

    The Beatles Tour bus stops directly outside the "Barbers Shop", a few feet directly opposite from the beautiful Welsh Church. How sad that in future the tourists will be looking at a huge hole.

    The Welsh Church is a superb building with lots of interesting features.

    Lovely stone and brick work, 20s windows, iron work, a haven of a garden in front together with a delightful house where the pastor, then caretaker, lived. It is the most exciting building in this world-famous "suburban skies". Can’t the council help the Welsh congregation by encouraging a development which made something of this church? It could be the place for another Beatles Museum.

    I would ask the council to remember how people around the world castigated the Liverpool Council which pulled down the original Cavern.

    Miss C Clarke, Liverpool 15



  9. Yes, its rather sad to lose a well loved building but who is doing the loving?? Not those who have dared to make remarks on this page!. If there is no alternative use for such places (and they have tried to find many a solution) and funds are scarce, running costs high - delapidations arising that are costly to attend to - what then? The voices on this site seem to be continually complaining. Have any of them financially assisted this church group? Maybe they have no money so what about some practical assistance? One might imagine that people who are wanting to see Bethel saved might give some of their time? Have any volunteers come forward to do a bit of weeding or painting from the complainers on this blog? I very much doubt it! The steadfast elders and group of worshippers here have suffered from break-ins, blatent thefts, graffiti and vandalism too. The roofs were entirely stripped of lead - did any neighbour notice and call the police? Two war memorials for both world wars were stolen last winter - what a disgrace - is there no respect any more for anything? What help have the small group of decent God fearing people who run this place been given? None - they are not a group of young people but a group of wonderful older folk who love their church and whats more they have, despite their seniority, gotten their act together to face a real challenge. Its worth remembering that a goodly part of the large range of buildings will survive which are in the same style as the main church. The new modern building being added to the remaining originals will be versatile and can be used by the local community with modern safety and other conveniences such as efficient heating. This is praiseworthy indeed and instead of whining, why not offer them some support and congratulations in being tenacious. The new Bethel will be a testament to the past and of use to the community for years to come. It will be sustainable. Some of the old has survived. The 1927 pulpit, sanctuary, gallery, some pews, all interior doors, and the magnificent 1951 Rushworth and Dreaper Liverpool built 1500 pipe organ have all been rescued for restoration and re use together in Wales. I know this as I have personally rescued these items - hopefully one day soon they will all be re-assembled and in use again even if not quite for the same purpose, but they will be in another Welsh Presbyterian Chapel. I am not a member of this church group but I have been rewarded by seeing what they are doing - why not help and support them instead of moaning?

  10. You are living in another world.

    You need to cut and paste this post.
    You may see that, the so called people protecting buildings such as this who are more intent on doing deals with shady property developers the more buildings we will lose.
    As you are not a member of the congregation you say I assume you are attempting to mitigate the critisism.
    The reason I write is to show things as they are and giving you the benefit of the doubt people like you walking around blindfolded will be all the more oblivious to facts if you dont open your eyes.