A CHURCH has been saved from development after being bought for more than £200,000 by a Christian group.

Last week’s Weekly News revealed how fears were raised by Chignal estate residents after the Trent Road United Reformed Church went up for sale.

They were worried the 59-year-old venue would be turned into housing, killing off the community groups who use it.

However, a bid from Chelmsford Community Church in excess of £200,000 has now been accepted - £25,000 of which will be used for renovations.

Formed 37-years-ago, the organisation said they want to use the venue as its first-ever permanent home while keeping it in community use too.

Senior pastor Peter Balls said: “Our solicitors are in the process of signing contracts with the hope we can move in within the next six weeks.

“Since we started up we have never had a proper home hopping between places like Hylands School and the YMCA building for worship, so it will be nice to put some roots down.

“But we also want to keep it as a place for the community groups and clubs to use as it is important for residents and local groups to have a facility to meet or have events in.

“We also want to hear from people on the estate whether there are any activities they’d like to see in the church, like a mother and toddler group for example.”

The venue closed to worshippers in January.

Along with church services, the building was also used by groups such as Chelmsford Karate Club, the Strutt Your Stuff dance group and a Zumba class.

Trevor Crisp, 53, who lives nearby in Clyde Crescent, said hearing the church would stay in community use was fantastic.

Mr Crisp said: “I’m very pleased with this as it means residents on the estate will have a place for parties and social meetings.

“Personally I hope the karate group which my son Peter went to moves back in there.”

Anyone who wants to speak to the church group about use of the venue can email peter@chelmsfordcommunitychurch.co.uk or visit www.chelmsfordcommunitychurch.co.uk .