St John's Blawith
In 2009 a project was started in collaboration with local partners, including the Parochial Church Council and the Parish Council, to assess the options for the unlisted Church of St John the Baptist at Blawith which was sitting unused and rarely visited. The church was originally vested in the CCT in 1993 after seemingly being mistaken for a medieval ruin across the road.
The options appraisal work revealed a major shortage of affordable housing for local people, and so in 2012 the Regeneration Team arranged to sell the church to a local couple that had been priced out of the housing market in the Lake District. As the church is within a National Park a sensitive conversion of the church was pursued in line with planning objectives, creating a new residential space with provision for bed and breakfast facilities helping to support the local economy.
Significant items within the church, including a war memorial, were relocated to Lowich Parish Church to ensure public access to them. The churchyard and graves remain within the estate of the Church of England.
This type of project is unlikely to be appropriate for many other churches in the CCT’s care, but it was the right solution in this case, helping to address a number of important priorities for the local community.