Why a new church building?
Kings Hill is a wonderful place to live, with a large and growing community of all ages. Kings Hill is a relatively new community with no dedicated worshiping space for the growing churches. As with many church buildings, the new building will be a community asset that not only provides worship for those who want it but will also meet people in times of need and celebration such as funerals, weddings and baptisms. It will provide a much-needed permanent space to continue and grow the community support that St Gabriel’s offer such as the food bank, Hub Community Café, Little Angel’s stay and play and Girls Brigade.
Church-led community activities currently happen in the school, the cricket pavilion, local homes or in the open air. This limits our ability to provide hospitality, and offer a recognised place for people to seek or find a place of quiet and sanctuary.
Why do you need a whole building just for Sundays?
The vision for the new church building on Kings Hill isn’t just about worship but about the whole community. St Gabriel’s hosts worship on a Sunday (morning and afternoon) with a growing congregation, it also runs the local foodbank, Hub Community café, Knit and Natter, community events and services, all in many different venues. Before the coronavirus pandemic the church was engaging with many people outside of Sunday worship and this has just increased. At times such as Christmas and Easter the St Gabriel’s congregations increases hugely. This is alongside regular church events such as mid week groups for all ages. There are many community activities that St Gabriel’s would like to provide, but unfortunately there is just not the space available to run them.
St Gabriel’s regularly leads large worship services at times of need and joy for residents of Kings Hill. Unfortunately these have to take place in either West Malling or Mereworth, which puts a stress on traffic, parking and local residents. Much of the time, people are travelling down to those other churches and then back to Kings Hill for the reception afterwards creating many unneeded traffic journeys. With the increase in population of Kings Hill, it is becoming increasingly difficult to offer the services people require in the other local parish churches as they are already booked up or hosting their own services at that time. A church building on Kings Hill will serve local residents, who can walk to the ceremony, and also boost the local economy.
Why the site where the tennis courts were?
Under the planning application for Phase 3 of Kings Hill (circa 2014-2016) a dedicated area for a place of faith-based worship had to be designated in the Centre of Kings Hill. It states;
‘The site of 0.31ha as shown on drawing C9451/PW/1/A hereby approved shall be reserved for the erection of a building and associated parking and ancillary development for the purposes of Faith based worship
Reason: To ensure the availability of adequate facilities for Faith based worship to meet the needs of the occupiers of the dwellings.‘
The area outlined in the drawings is the site of the former tennis courts on Gibson Drive. This land cannot be used for any other purpose until the planning conditions for that land lapse. The land has been secured by the Church of England to erect a church building on this land, subject to planning restrictions regarding the tennis courts and planning permission being granted for the building.
What about the Tennis Courts?
Under planning conditions the Church building could not be built upon until they have been relocated;
‘The existing tennis courts at Gibson Drive shall be retained in situ for public use until alternative facilities within the Kings Hill Parish are completed and made available for public use in accordance with a planning permission that has been granted by the LPA. The scheme shall provide for 2 no. tennis courts constructed to the same specification as the existing tennis courts in a specified alternative location.‘
In 2021 new and expanded tennis courts were constructed at Kings Hill Sports Park. Kings Hill Tennis club relocated to their new home in January 2022. The new tennis courts form part of a wider expansion of facilities at the venue. The expansion of the facility not only replaced the two existing courts, but created two additional multi-use courts (for tennis, netball and other activities) as well as permission for floodlighting. The expanded facilities are much needed by Kings Hill Community Tennis Club.
Where will the money come from?
St Gabriel’s Kings Hill is a church and thus a charity. Whilst part of the money has been granted and a financial package agreed to enable the building to be built, there will be fundraising activities and further grant applications to support the development. This is a regular and natural activity which is undertaken by all community and charitable groups when new building facilities are created.
If you would like to become a donor please speak to us or go to our donate page