Praise be for Birmingham church rebuild

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Many rooms: From left, Mansell trainee site manager Jack Carey, Bishop Andrew Watson, Mansell senior site manager Neil Slater, trainee site manager Ben Shakespeare and construction manager Dean Howard. Many rooms: From left, Mansell trainee site manager Jack Carey, Bishop Andrew Watson, Mansell senior site manager Neil Slater, trainee site manager Ben Shakespeare and construction manager Dean Howard.

A CELEBRATION event has been held to mark the completion of a new Sparkbrook Church which replaces one seriously damaged in a Birmingham tornado in 2005.

Bishop Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston, attended the event marking the completion of work on the church by the Stourbridge-based Western Region of Mansell Construction Services.

The original Christ Church in Sparkbrook, consecrated in 1867, was badly damaged by a 130mph tornado, which ripped through parts of Birmingham eight years ago.

The church had to be demolished but has now been replaced with a new two-storey facility, which incorporates a church hall, café and rooms for general community use, along with landscaped car parking.

The opening event was also attended by representatives of Mansell, Birmingham and Solihull LIFT (BaS LIFT) and their private development partner Prime, consultants Mott MacDonald and architects One Creative Environments Ltd, along with the priest in charge of Sparkbrook Christ Church, the Rev Canon Steve Simcox and curate, Rev Richard Sudworth.

Mansell’s director of operations, Stuart Rogers, said: “Mansell is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the various partners involved in this project and to deliver the Diocese of Birmingham’s vision for Sparkbrook’s new Christ Church facility.

“We recognise the importance of developments like these to the communities they serve and we are proud to play a key role in providing them.”

Mr Simcox said: “We are overjoyed with the new building and we were glad to be able to celebrate its opening.

“Together, the developers, designers and contractors have understood the vision that we had for a new church in Sparkbrook and have translated this into building design and, thanks to everyone’s hard work, the area has a new church, café and facilities, which can now serve the local and wider community.”

Pierre Du Toit, associate architect with One Creative Environments Ltd, said, “Sparkbrook Church offers a refreshing approach to traditional church design.

“Driven by the vision of the Reverend and his congregation we have created a building that is designed with community outreach in mind, with a flexible layout that enables the church to tailor the space and accommodate different uses.”

As well as the new church, the £7.3 million Mansell project includes a three-storey community and health centre, which provides accommodation for GP, community, dental and physiotherapy services, which Mansell completed last year.

The centre also includes a library, a Birmingham City Council customer service centre, community centre facilities, six start-up offices and landscaped public areas.

Ann Pursey, chief executive of BaS LIFT, said: “Sparkbrook’s Community Hub comprises a landmark health and council building - the first of its kind in the city - and the new Christ Church, which has now officially opened.

“Together they are the result of a collaborative vision between the NHS, Birmingham City Council, the Diocese of Birmingham and BaS LIFT to regenerate community facilities and services for the whole community and we are proud to be part of the project team that has rejuvenated such an important site at the heart of Sparkbrook.”

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