This is the page where the background and ongoing details of the church site redevelopment can be found. Scroll down to find:
1. LATEST NEWS
2. APPOINTMENT OF ARCHITECTS
3. BACKGROUND TO THE BUILDINGS
4. THE GARDEN PROJECT
5. CONSULTATION Sept 2019
1. LATEST NEWS
We are redeveloping our site on the corner of Theobald Road and Cowbridge Road East, improving it as a local community resource. We would like you to be a ‘stakeholder’ in this redevelopment scheme. We wish to keep the conversation alive, following engagement with local people. We are currently waiting for a decision on our planning application to the local council but do check this page for the latest news.
From the time when Canton Uniting was first formed back in 1995, we have wanted to develop the buildings to benefit our Canton neighbours —not just our church members.
The buildings have always been very well used by a range of groups and individuals: young people’s groups, choirs, the NHS, and there are regular concerts and children’s parties.
The new part of the church building, constructed in 2000, provides the main worship and concert space.
Most community activity has taken place in the old halls at the rear, built in the 1890s. However, these halls — costly to heat and not up to health and safety standards— are no longer fit to use. Some are unsafe.
Unfortunately, construction costs mean that we are unable to replace all the older buildings. However, we now have some exciting plans for a future community garden.
The success of the church/ community garden, along with the relative lack of green spaces in the neighbourhood, has inspired a significant part of the thinking behind our plans for redeveloping the Canton Uniting site. We would like to:
· Demolish the old buildings behind the 2000 new build.
· Build an extension facing out to the new garden to provide a new, ecologically responsible facility for community use.
· Develop a new, larger church and community garden at the rear.
If you have any further ideas for how we can make our facilities better for community use, we would be interested to hear them. You are welcome to contact us via our church secretary at
Key meetings last year 2022 pushed the project on after a period of difficulty during the pandemic.
We welcomed many neighbours to the church to view and react to the plans we have for redevelopment in September 2019. Now we have moved on to the practicalities of the project, albeit slowed down but not daunted by coronavirus problems.
2. APPOINTMENT of ARCHITECTS
In summer 2020 the C U Church Redevelopment Committee addressed the challenge of finding suitable architects to take charge of the revision of the church’s buildings, which has been stuck at ‘phase one’ for a number of years. With the essential help of Chris Atherton the tender was put out to a number of architects and Caroe and Partners were finally chosen.
As with all decisions within the church, the Deacons needed to put this proposal to the Church Meeting, which consists of every church member. Normally the Church Meeting is held in the sanctuary, but with the building shut, there was an anxious moment concerning the rubric and whether a meeting could be held under differing circumstances. Eventually permission was given for the meeting to be held on line or by post. Every possible method was used to alert members to the issues around the decision and in the end the responses were considerably more numerous than at a normal meeting.
The decision of members was overwhelmingly for the adoption of Caroe and Partners, for various reasons, chiefly that they were prepared to work on the project during the virus lockdown so that the momentum of the project was maintained and also that the architects made broad proposals which challenged everyone to ‘think outside the box’, the box being the limitations of our imagination.
The overall result was a feeling of excitement that the building will be transformed to reflect the needs of the community and will react to the changing circumstances of a post-pandemic world.
3. BACKGROUND TO THE BUILDINGS
Canton Uniting Church is called 'uniting' because it has combined three previously existing churches: New Trinity United Reformed Church, Llandaff Road Baptist Church and Grand Avenue United Reformed Church. A chief motivation for the first two churches combining in 1995 was a vision for improving ways to serve the community by combining forces.
The front of the church was demolished to build the new and modern building and it was opened in the year 2000. It was designed as an open-fronted church – open to God, open to each other and open to the community.
Use of buildings
Over the years the building has provided a play group, a luncheon club for older people, accommodation for the A.A., the Treganna Family Centre for families in need, NHS health visitor sessions, youth organisation meetings, concerts, choirs and a drumming group – apart from all the church activities.
As the income of the church has reduced, it has become more difficult to maintain the older, 19th-century part of the building. So the church approached a housing association to see whether it was interested in buying the land at the back of the building to create sheltered housing. The association responded positively but finally the plans were turned down.
In 2017 a new small garden project was set up on waste ground at the side of the church. This has grown and flourished. The church has now decided to propose a new scheme. This involves the land being retained by the church but some of the building at the rear (south) knocked down and the existing garden moved and expanded to occupy the larger space created for it.
See the 'CUC Garden' pull for details on the development of the garden.
Please respond on the Redevelopment SPACE.
5. CONSULTATION September 2019
Here are the written remarks that people left with us:
Rentable meeting rooms…
need at least two in the new-build for 20 people.
If possible access without needing to go through the larger hall
Equip with blinds to facilitate powerpoint presentations
Good well-resourced kitchen so we can teach kids to cook
And create good meals in the home
Affordable place to rent for music lessons.
Rentable storage facility
Postboxes rentable for local charities and small businesses (
I’d rather pay you than £180 a month elsewhere)
Keep the AA!! but a bigger space please More in the round. accessible.
(We talked before about this: a recording studio)
Are you doing an Equality Impact assessment?
Contact all User-groups also on accessibility
Contact all neighbours, and communicate with them regularly.
Inform [them] of timeline for the process
Have one number to phone in case of trouble with the builders Discourage car-use. The parking is already diabolical And people can park behind the shops
Let everyone know what came out of this consultation!
DESIGN for the building:
Green, ECO build, environmentally friendly
Heat-pump and solar panels
Insulation!! Green roof for the extension
Let’s have a look at St Fagan’s “House of the future” together to see if that can be a model to follow
Design for EASY maintenance
These halls are beautiful but not fit for purpose, really!
But can as much as possible be re-used/re-purposed to keep some of the history of the old building
Or someone else could use the separating folding doors
Make it BOLD and interesting
I think it is GREAT that you are consulting the community. Good Stuff.
A scented garden
Wildlife encouraging, bee-friendly British varieties
Beehive. Insect hibernation A spider-home Chickens too
Birdbath, feeders and table Swift boxes
Fruit trees and veg !!! Veg production is the most valuable
Green beans, potatoes and broad beans
A greater variety of potatoes
Raised bed for children’s gardening club (Astrid will help)
A Gazebo covering furniture, table and chairs… Bolted to the ground!!
Think maintenance! A volunteer committee including people from the community, Community service/ schools/ or a paid helper
design: small lawn, path around, easy maintenance border
Continue with the same format as this one: Raised beds, flowers and food
For kids to know the value of the earth, where food comes from
An educational place, encouraging kids.
A place for bookreading or just looking at flowers,
birds , beautiful things
Forgetting your worries and having a laugh
A place bigger than your own house and garden, just sit peacefully,
A contemplation place
A memorial place
EXCLAMATIONS, HOPES AND DREAMS
Keep the AA!
A yurt in the garden, ..multipurpose?
A book-exchange from a recycled telephone box like in Michaelston-le-Pit
A bandstand in the garden for live performances
Table tennis and or squash courts
Make a “library of things” where people can borrow a tool or something
An “unwanted food” exchange
Do workshops in gardening, growing vegetables.
Cookery classes - with garden produce? Also multicultural - Indian, British, Chinese, Greek, Kurdish…
A film club
A “changing places” facility in the centre block, with hoists and bed.
Thank you for the warm welcome.
Provide Welsh learning
Share the typed information on a website or by email to current users and local groups Eg facebook
Develop (own?) website so people can be both informed and contribute ideas
I live around the corner and I enjoy walking past this beautiful building. I was upset when the old building was knocked down, and although the new building feels modern and well designed I would‘ve preferred for the old building to be redesigned from the inside.
This is what I would like to see for the buildings in the back. I can see that they need upgrading but the history and the beauty within the walls could be preserved. Lots of old buildings have been succesfully been repurposed for modern day usage: Canton library, Chapter Arts and the old library in town have all successfully reinvented themselves from the inside. I appreciate that this style of renovation is expensive, but too much these days is thrown away.
I am aware that expense is an issue. Lots of the other buildings have had to increase their income by renting out spaces. There are for example many creative industries springing up around Canton which require an office space. Maybe a solution would be to rent out space to one or two of these businesses.
I know that modern building is more eco-friendly than older ones, but maybe it would be more energy efficient to modernise the interior of the old building, than to knock it down and start all over again. I am sure whatever happens, this building shall remain at the heart of the community as it has been for many years.