Threat to an exceptional disused church: St Anne’s, Hollington

St Anne’s church in Chambers Road, Hollington, is in Pevsner, the architectural guide. It is also under serious threat of demolition. In 2022, planning application HS/FA/22/00028 was submitted, to redevelop the site with market housing. Hastings Borough Council Planning Committee rejected it 9-1, for being not good enough.

Other applications followed, the latest being HS/FA/24/00239, still to be decided.

St Anne’s, an elegant brick-and-flint building of the 1950s, was designed by the Brighton architects J L Denman and Son. The flints were salvaged from All Saints church in Brighton. Among much else, Denman (1882-1975) was involved in the restoration of Canterbury Cathedral from war damage, and a founder of Brighton’s Regency Society. He was a vice-president of RIBA. Interest in the family’s work is growing. The windows are by Marjorie Incledon (1891-1973).

Detail of St Anne, Hollington

Objectors to demolition include the 20th Century Society, the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), and Historic Buildings & Places (HB&P, formerly the Ancient Monuments Society). Unfortunately the developers have a ‘prior approval’ claimed under ‘permitted development rights’ in a defective procedure (case ref HS/DM/22/00835).

A fourth case in the recent history of the site is HS/FA/23/00448, which was refused under delegated powers by officers, again for being not good enough.

The Society is sending an objection to this application. Any other opinions about the live case can be sent to the Council at . If it’s an objection it’s advisable to use that wording, as otherwise comments may be disregarded. The likely timeframe of the decision is not known.

The crux of the issue is less the design of future housing than the preservation of the church, converted into good housing. (At present Denman’s church is a gym.)

The planning mechanism known as Article 4 Direction could help but should have been implemented in 2022. What will happen next is unclear.

* * *

The mention of Pevsner is to Sussex: East, with Brighton and Hove, by Nicholas Antram and Nikolaus Pevsner, one of the numerous volumes in the Buildings of England series under the editorship of Pevsner himself. My (revised edition) copy is dated 2013 and covers Hastings from pages 421 to 472, with St Leonards on pages 449 to 468. The entry for the church on page 468 reads:

ST ANNE, Chambers Road, Hollington. 1956 by J.L. Denman & Son. Brick and flint and still in the Arts and Crafts tradition. The tower, with pyramid roof, is curved to W and E. The nave has projecting window bays which break through the eaves to gabled and hipped dormers. Interior with pointed tunnel-vault.

This terse wording is typical of Pevsner. I often refer to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from The Burtons’ St Leonards Society

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading