A HISTORIC church which has become an “eyesore” could be demolished to make way for new homes after standing for more than 150 years.

Old Heath Congregational Church, in Fingringhoe Road, Colchester, was built in 1868 but has remained unused for about a decade.

It went under the hammer at auction in September with a guide price of £100,000 to £120,000.

Proposals have now been submitted to Colchester Council which could see what’s left of the former church knocked down and two three-bedroom semi-detached houses built in its place by Kartal Construction, a building company based in Stanway.

After a previous attempt to sell the building, which is on the council’s local list which protects landmarks in the city, Colchester Civic Society hoped the building would be saved.

Gazette: Save our church - Bob Mercer, of Colchester Civic Society, outside Old Heath Congregational ChurchSave our church - Bob Mercer, of Colchester Civic Society, outside Old Heath Congregational Church

Bob Mercer, the society’s officer for planning and heritage, previously said: “If the council feels the former congregational church has merit to be put on the council’s own local list for buildings which should be protected, then it is hoped that any proposal to demolish the building will be resisted.”

Lee Scordis, city councillor for Old Heath and the Hythe, however, feels the potential redevelopment of the site could be a positive step.

He said: “Sadly, after years and years of neglect it’s become an eyesore and it was really up to the diocese to take it over which it hasn’t. The site could provide a home for someone and remove the eyesore which is a positive option.”

Several attempts have been made to demolish the historic church, known locally as the “tin tabernacle”, and replace it with a more cost-effective building.

Gazette: Historic - the back of the churchHistoric - the back of the church (Image: Auction House East Anglia)

A bid in 2013 was withdrawn before an amended plan was submitted in 2015.

Colchester Council refused the bid for the building to be demolished and a larger church built in its place saying it would be “inferior in design”.

Church leaders appealed the decision, but an inspector ruled in the council's favour.

Gazette reader Jess Jephcott said: “I see no useful future for it. It has had its day.

“Just another heritage building that has no particular importance. If anything, it’s an eyesore.”