It’s a case of wait and see with the future of the green heart of Barry village as residents and the church met this week to discuss a new development.
It came to light last week that the Rest Gardens of Barry Parish Church were the subject of a planning application in principle for development, much to the dismay of residents.
The Guide & Gazette was contacted by a spokesperson for the concerned residents and wheels were set in motion which saw over 20 villagers, Barry Parish Church’s Rev. Michael Goss and four congregational board members meet to discuss the situation.
A spokesperson for the villagers said: “We had a long and frank discussion, which did get a little heated at times, but became more settled later, and finished on a positive and friendly note.
“The church can’t afford the upkeep of the ground, and sadly, from our point of view, has decided to go ahead with the sale, obviously to stop paying for the maintenance, but also to raise funds for the upkeep of Barry Church.
“The residents understood the church’s needs, but pointed out that if the church had canvassed the community as a whole before leaping in with the outline planning application leading to sale, the community would have rallied round to, at the very least, take over the maintenance of the garden without a sale being necessary.”
Mr Goss was more than happy to meet with residents and address their concerns. He said: “We were not aware of this depth of feeling from the community.
“We would want to make sure we kept the village informed of all the plans.
“We’re not going to rush into a sale with a developer and block plans by the community to do a buyout, we would rather work with them.”
The villagers’ spokesperson added: “The board seem to welcome the idea of a community buy out, although now that the process has gone this far, the Board of Trustees in Edinburgh are involved, and are apparently duty bound to try to realise as much money as they can from the sale of any church land, making the possibility of a community buy out an expensive proposition, if the application is granted.
“However if it isn’t granted then it would obviously be a much cheaper piece of ground.
“The residents are keen to pursue a community buy out, and we will be looking into forms of available funding for such ventures. This evening’s meeting ended so amicably that we’ve even arranged to book the church hall to hold our meetings in!”