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Iconic church spire saved after weekly's story

A weekly editor has praised the merits of “old style journalism” after its readers saved an iconic church from complete demolition.

Members of heritage group the Victorian Society were inspired to petition against the proposal after reading about it in the Redditch Standard.

The Standard had reported in November how Headless Cross Methodist Church, which is locally listed in the Worcestershire town, would face the bulldozers and be transformed into nine terraced houses.

But off the back of the revelation the Society decided to launch its own campaign, with readers also contributing letters objecting against the proposal to the paper.

Redditch church

Applicant Phil Thomas told Redditch Borough Council’s planning committee on Wednesday he had “taken on board comments from the local press and local people” and would ensure the tower and spire would be retained in any future development.

The initial story was discovered by reporter Connie Osborne in the weekly list of planning applications to the council.

Editor Ian Dipple said: “Although we didn’t campaign as such, without us highlighting the possibility of demolition at an early stage it is likely the original plans would have been passed and the building lost in its entirety.

He added: “For me it’s an excellent example of what local newspapers are all about, sourcing and identifying the issues that matter to our readers.

“It was also nice it came from a bit of old style journalism.

“Social media and the internet are wonderful tools but this proves the old methods of newsgathering shouldn’t be ignored as well.”

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  • January 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Good example of local knowledge and reporting. Well done.

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