6,000sign petition to try to save London Colney pastoral centre

EFFORTS to stop a piece of London Colney’s history from potentially being carved up by developers appears to be in jeopardy as the property’s owner looks to cash in on the multi-million-pound site.

An e-petition launched to save the All Saints Pastoral Centre, described as a thriving place of evolving spirituality, has been signed by more than 6,000 people.

The petition calls on the centre’s owner, the Diocese of Westminster, not to dismiss and abandon a “cornerstone of diverse communities which people are passionate about.”

But Herts county councillor for The Colneys, Chris Brazier, is concerned that the diocese is ignoring supporters’ concerns and continuing with the sell-off.

The nearly 60-acre property is being marketed by Smiths Gore as a substantial complex convenient for London and St Albans, for sale either in its entirety or in up to five lots.

Cllr Brazier said he understood there have been 11 offers for the site, nine of which were for the entire property, and two for parts of it. Five offers have been shortlisted for further consideration later this month.

He believed offers had been in the range of �6.5 million for the whole centre.

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Cllr Brazier said: “I am against either the chapel or the pastoral centre being closed.”

He is concerned that London Colney residents are unaware of the sale, which he fears could result in the village losing the green buffer which stops it from coalescing with neighbouring Shenley, should the site be developed.

The centre has been a religious institution since it was established in the late Victorian era and includes the moated site of a chantry chapel thought to date back to Norman times.

Peter Baker, a spokesman for the Save All Saints Committee, said the fate of the centre now rested with the Diocese of Westminster.

The committee has been trying to secure a means of retaining the Comper Chapel for the worshipping community.

Mr Baker added: “There are bids which would favour the renovation of the Chapel and retention of the Chapel in its current set up and the committee are hopeful that one of these bids will be successful.”

The diocese announced the closure earlier this year, saying that while it was deeply regretted, it would help the organisation make better use of its resources.

A spokesman for the diocese confirmed its agents had received a number of expressions of interest for the purchase of the centre, which were now being assessed.

He added: “We have engaged with individuals who have been affected by the closure and continue to do so.”