For decades it’s lain derelict, but Metro Mayor Dan Norris got a glimpse of the exciting future of Kingswood’s historic Whitfield Tabernacle when he went to see renovation work beginning to transform it into a community arts venue.
The 18th century building, which has deteriorated for over 20 years after a devastating fire, is being restored and turned in to an educational, performance and community arts development venue with the help of a £682,000 grant from the West of England Combined Authority, which Mr Norris leads.
Dan Norris said: “For far too long Whitfield Tabernacle has been a derelict eyesore, but that’s changing thanks to the dedication of The Whitfield Tabernacle Trust, and to funding from the West of England Combined Authority that I’m proud to lead.
“Kingswood residents can look forward to the exciting rebirth of this important part of the community’s heritage.”
The building was acquired in 2019 by The Whitfield Tabernacle Trust, which is working with South Gloucestershire Council with an ambition to fully restore the Grade-I listed building. It has a central role in the history of Kingswood as home to the birth of the non-conformist religious movement.
The renovation work forms part of a wider plan to re-shape the surrounding Kingswood area. The Metro Mayor also dropped in to the Kings Chase Shopping Centre where a vacant shopping unit is being used to display maps of the proposed changes, made possible in part by £7.5 million from the West of England Combined Authority, asking local residents to give their views on the proposals. The Combined Authority’s funding presents a significant opportunity to lever in a provisional award of £12.2m through the Government’s Future High Streets programme, alongside £4.8m from South Gloucestershire Council.