Building for the Future

First established in 1878 as a chapel of ease for workers constructing the railway line. St Philips has been extended over the intervening but the buildings are in great need of modernisation and no longer meet the needs of our larger and vibrant local community.

Planning permission has been granted for to build a new, modern Church Centre to serve the needs of current and future generations of worshippers and the local community. Plans and artists impressions can be viewed here

Construction will start only when we have secured sourcing for the current estimated cost of £3.5 million. To date a staggering £2.34 million has been raised. We are aiming to start work in 2018 but we still need your help to support the project. 


Donations towards the project are vital so please give generously. 

To donate on line click on the logo below.


Details of other ways to give towards the project

& a gift aid declaration are available




Building for the Future Update

Vision Sunday 20th May 2018

Following the response of the Chancellor to our request to begin the rebuild of St Philip’s in two stages our Contractors and Architect have worked hard on our behalf to meet the Chancellors requirements. Therefore we now have a two phased approach to the rebuilding of St Philip’s Church - this which will give us the completed exterior of the Church and Church halls and a finished and usable Church Worship Centre! This leaves us with the task of continuing to fund raise to finish the Church halls.

The financial structure needs to be agreed by the PCC, we need to apply for both an extension to our planning permission, and a new faculty to rebuild the Church in this phased approach. With prayer, and wholehearted commitment to complete what God has begun with us we could begin the rebuilding of St Philip’s by the end of this year! 

      Building for the Future Update - Spring 2018

The Diocesan Chancellor has turned down our request to phase the rebuilding of St Philip’s Church at this stage.

Along with the Churchwardens and the PCC I believe that the next steps we need to take are…

  •      To talk with the Diocesan Registrar (Law Officer) for clarity on what we need to build to fulfil the requirements of the Church of England Faculty.
  •      To work with our architect and contractor on the plans and design to be able to meet these requirements in a phased approach.
  •      To apply to Solihull Borough Council to extend planning permission beyond July this year.
  •      As a congregation to continue to wholeheartedly support the Building for the Future Project, first and foremost in prayer, then out of that prayer in works and acts of creativity, service, and sacrifice.

Our vision and calling remains to Regroup, to Rebuild and to Replant. We continue to Regroup around the good news of who Jesus is and what he has done for us. To Rebuild - grow the Church in Dorridge and Bentley Heath in faith, in number and in influence. To Replant – to do what we do differently, and do new things, that enable others to share in the love and life of God. If we work with God to grow his church, then God will enable us to build the church buildings we need!    

With thanks


September 2017 Update introducing the

Two Phased Building Concept

I announced recently that on the evening of Monday 11th September, the PCC passed a proposal to work with the Diocese and our contractors Kier to begin the rebuild of St Philip's Church in a two phase process.


The first phase would be to build and complete the external structure of our building at a total cost of £2.5 million. If the Diocese give their consent, we will need to be able to prove to Kier that we have the funds available to complete phase 1 before they will start.


We believe that this decision is a responsible step of faith and will help us as a church family focus on completing the task God has begun with us…and provoke the wider community to partner with us in making this exciting vision a reality.

It is my belief that if we wait for all the money to come in we will never start to build and therefore we will never finish, but if we step out in faith and begin to build what we can we will finish.


Psalm 102:18-22 “Let this be written for a future generation that a people yet created may praise the Lord… so the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.”


First, to all those who have already acted in faith, by giving and pledging to the Building for the Future project joyfully, generously, and sacrificially THANK YOU!

Practically if you have pledged your giving over a number of years please would you give serious consideration to bringing your pledged giving forward by at least two years?


If you have already given please pray and think seriously of ways you can realistically give and release more money?


If you have not yet given to the Building for the Future project then now is the moment to step out in faith, and to give joyfully, generously, and sacrificially so that we can build for the glory of God, that future generations and people yet uncreated may know, love, worship and serve God as their Lord!


Response forms are available below and we would ask for your response to this appeal to be returned to Church by Sunday 29th October.


With thanks,


Pledge Form

Building phase 1 construction

BFTF Brochure

Our thanks to Allchurches Trust for their donation


New St Philip's 

Church Centre Plans


Plans and artists impressions can be viewed here

Update - 1st May 2016
At last!
Following the DAC's recommendation of acceptance of our plans in October 2014, we are pleased to say we have now received final acceptance by means of the necessary faculty from the Diocesan Chancellor.

Update - 7th December 2015
The original planning application submitted to and approved by the council showed us retaining the bottom half of the 6 Manor Road garden. Since then there has been considerable discussion as to whether this was the right decision.
At the PCC meeting it was overwhelmingly agreed that we should not retain this land and to sell it as part of the 6 Manor Road property. The reasons for that decision were that retention would significantly affect the value of the property, it would present an on-going maintenance problem and its usage would be minimal. It was also noted that there would still be a significant area of land around the rear and sides of the new development.
The council have been notified of this change and they have advised that a fully revised planning application is not required and we can therefore proceed to sell the site at the earliest opportunity as advised by our estate agent.

Update - 21st July 2015
Good News!!!       About a week ago the Planning Officer at Solihull MBC intimated that they had decided to devolve decision on our application to the Head of Development Management and Regulatory Services. We now know, according to the Council website that our planning application was approved on 20th July 2015!

It is likely that the planning approval could be conditional upon certain measures which may include things such appropriate external lights and methods for dealing with any excess noise. However we do not believe any of these conditions would be insurmountable.

The next stage of the process lies with the Diocese. The Diocesan Advisory Committee recommended acceptance of our proposals last year so the matter now needs to go before the Diocesan Chancellor for his decision as to whether to grant the relevant faculties. In the meantime however the BFTF Committee will start implementing plans to raise the necessary funds.

Update - 12th April 2015
As part of the documentation needed to accompany the Planning Application we were required to commission and submit an Ecological Report to identify the flora and fauna within the area for redevelopment. Unfortunately this report suggested that some of the buildings and surroundings might be an ideal location for bats. 

We were therefore required to commission and submit a Dawn/Dusk Bat Survey which did find that there were a small number of bats around the site. This survey was done at the end of September, however, the main activity season for bats is mid-May to mid-September.  As we were only just outside that “window” we were led to believe that a mitigation report might be sufficient.  

Solihull MBC has now said that such a report is not acceptable and they are insisting on a further Dawn/Dusk Bat Survey from mid-May onwards. This report will be prepared after mid-May which means that it could be early June before it is accepted by Solihull MBC and consequently the planning decision is now unlikely to take place before July.

Update - 8th March 2015
We have now submitted our counter arguments to the Conservation Advisory Committee, correcting their numerous inaccuracies and indicating the many articles that we consider as assets worthy of inclusion in the new building.
We are now in the process of preparing a bat mitigation report based on the studies already carried out assuming a “worst case scenario”, to try to avoid any further delays in the planning process as this is the only outstanding item raised by the Planning Officer.
We have been encouraged during the next weeks to lobby support from our councillors and MP highlighting the community benefits of the new development.
We shall be starting a full publicity campaign shortly but in the meantime please take whatever action you can to promote what we believe is God’s plan for Dorridge and Bentley Heath and please keep praying.

Update - 15th December 2014
Our plans went before the Council's Conservation Advisory Committee on 14th December. Several of us attended but as anticipated we were not allowed to make any comment on any statements made by Committee members This was disappointing as a number of statements made were factually incorrect or irrelevant. The Committee were recommended to oppose the demolition and this they did. However, this was no great surprise given that their role is purely to consider conservation.
By contrast, the Planning Committee has a much wider remit. We anticipate our plans will go before them in February or March and we are now considering how we can strengthen our position.

Update - 22nd October 2014
Good news!!!
The DAC met on 14th October with the following conclusions: "the Church Buildings Council (CBC) had reviewed the parish's proposals for a complete clearing of the church site followed by a new build and advised that" .................."it would not object to the proposed demolition."
The DAC itself felt that "ultimately, the parish was clear in its proposals for meeting its future needs and had made its case. The Committee RAISED NO OBJECTION to the petition" ........... and "will now forward your petition and its recommendation to the Chancellor, so that he can consider the case and issue Faculty permission."

So all we are now waiting for is a satisfactory conclusion to the Solihull Council planning process!!!

Update - 18th September 2014
The plans have today been submitted to Solihull Council for planning approval.

Update - 6th August 2014
The committee met last night with the Architect and Builder to consider the effect the new design has upon the costs. As anticipated there is a slight increase due not only to the revised design but also the inflationary pressures in the building industry at the present time.
The current estimate is £3.25 million which includes all the building costs, a contingency and necessary furnishings (e.g.chairs).
The paperwork for the DAC meeting on 2nd September is nearly ready and we are working on completing all the paperwork for formal submission to Solihull MBC for planning approval.
The committee decided to defer giving Kier approval to proceed to full and detailed costing until planning approval has been given in order to avoid unnecessary fees as a result of any changes necessary to obtain planning approval.

If you have any comments or questions for the Committee, please email them to:

Update - 25th June 2014
The Committee met with a sub-group of the DAC today to consider revisions to the design following the meeting on 16th May. The DAC were favourably impressed with the revised design and advised us to "firm up" the designs and submit them to the DAC for consideration at their next full committee meeting on the 2nd September. We hope that they will then feel able to recommend acceptance to the Diocesan Chancellor who has to make the final decision. They also suggested that we also proceed to make a formal planning application to Solihull Council.

Sketches of the revised design are shown below and detailed plans should be available in the next 6/7 weeks.

New SW elevation

New front elevation

New NW elevation

Update - 16th May 2014
Members of the BFTF Committee met today with Andrew Foster (Robothams) and Andy Webb (Kier) to discuss the comments made by the DAC.
The matters discussed were:
Ensuring the accessibility of the double entrance doors
Moving the ceremonial entrance from the SW corner to the NW corner
Reviewing the roof lines where the Hall and offices meet the Church and the overall external appearance of the entrance area
Considering the maintenance issues surrounding the use of timber cladding and it's possible
substitution with other materials
Provision of a vestry adjacent to the worship area using the Store area marked on the plans but slightly enlarged.

It will take 2/3 weeks to revise the designs and as soon as they are available we will arrange a meeting with a small sub-group of the DAC to seek their approval of the revisions.

Update - 17th April 2014
A sub- group of the DAC met members of our committee today. Also in attendance was the Conservation Officer from Solihull MBC. Overall they were supportive of our proposals however it was recognised that we should probably review the proposed design and layout of both the main entrance and ceremonial entrance. We will therefore discuss this with our architect on his return from holiday. Two members of the DAC have offered their help with this.

Update - 18th March 2014
The DAC met on Tuesday to consider our plans for the redevelopment of St Philip's Church. The informal feedback we have received from this meeting suggests that the response is positive overall, but a subcommittee of the DAC want to meet with members of our Building for the Future team

here at St Philip's to discuss our proposals in greater detail. This meeting will hopefully take
place within the next 2 weeks.

Update - 26th February 2014
The formal application for the rebuild has now been sent to the DAC for consideration at their meeting on 18th March. The documents comprise over 200 pages and include the required Statement of Needs and Statement of Significance.

Update - 26th November 2013
The Building for the Future Committee had a meeting with the Architect and Builders on 21st November to discuss the new costing's associated with the revised design of the Church worship area.

As anticipated, costs have increased with the total now likely to be £2.7 million. The main reasons for the increase are:
1.The redesign creates a more complex and therefore more expensive roof structure as well as a small increase in the overall size of the building
2.The costs now include the removal, refurbishment and re- installation of the current East Window into its new location
3.Building costs, in general, have started to rise and are likely to continue to do so although some allowance has been made for this.
The PCC met on the 25th November and unanimously agreed to make a formal submission to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) which is the first stage of the planning process. We are aiming to put this before them for their first meeting in 2014, the 28th January.


Update - 17th October 2013
Having taken into account comments from the congregation and community, the Building for the Future Committee had a further meeting with the Architect and Builders on 15th October to consider revised designs for the worship space.

A presentation of the revised designs will be given to the congregation at the 10am service on Sunday 17th November.

At the time of the meeting, Kier had not had sufficient notice to cost the new proposals but this will be submitted at the next meeting on November 21st. The proposals include the retention of the East window in a new location together with a revised shape and character of the worship space.

If you have any comments or questions for the Committee, please email them to:

Update - 6th September 2013
The committee met with the Architect and Builders on 5th September. Various topics were discussed but the main item was the proposed Worship Area. We have asked the Architect to reconsider the design of this area both internally and externally and to explore the technical possibility of incorporating the current East Window, in its entirety in the design.

We hope to have outline details of his revised proposals by the end of October.


• Are all of the pledges received loans or gifts?
They are all gifts
• How will the project be funded?
A balance of commercial loans will be raised which will be paid down by time phased pledges and additional funds raised from the congregation, community, businesses and other sources.
• Who will be liable if funding is short?
Legally the PCC is liable but no work will start that cannot be clearly funded.
• How will other funds be raised?
Via the appointment of person to lead and coordinate our fund raising efforts.
• What about 6 Manor Road?
It is proposed that part of its site will be used in the development and the balance including the property sold off.
• Where will the money raised go?
It will be used to settle off any outstanding loans and the balance put into the building fund.
• How much could this be?
Difficult to answer but could be in the order of £4-500,000.

• What will the future running costs of the new building be?
This is unknown as it depends on ultimate usage, however calculations based on the proposed materials and insulations etc. suggest that the energy efficiency will be at the top end of the scale, a B/B+.
• Why are there few other energy saving features?
Largely because of available funds at this stage however additional
features may be added. Ground tests have indicated that ground source heating is not practical on the site but solar panels and grey water recycling could be included later.
• Why no under floor heating?
Underfloor heating is a very good solution in buildings which are likely to have long periods of steady occupation such as homes. Due its nature it is slow to respond to changes within the building and areas take a long while to warm. Whilst we hope the church will be fully used we want to have a heating system that is quick to react and is flexible. By its very nature the church will have influxes of people over a short period of time bringing cold air into the building and underfloor heating can struggle to cope with such fluctuations.We are taking further advice on this.
Are all light sources low energy?
Yes all lighting is low consumption, long life.

• Why are we not receiving regular updates on what is happening?
There has been little to report however the PCC has approved moving to the next stage and so regular updates will occur via email, the website and hard copy in Church. We now have someone responsible for marketing and publicity who will work in the team, alongside our fund raiser.

• The design looks unimaginative and doesn’t say “Church”, why?
The architect was asked to produce an affordable footprint and then clothed the footprint initially, this is now under review. We want it to say this is a welcoming Church as part of its witness in the community.
• There is insufficient storage, what is being done?
A storage audit is needed again; however there can never be enough storage!
• What about the parts of the Church that we love?
A survey of significance has been conducted by a specialist and certain items and features have been identified as worthy of preservation, also certain items have a particular value to some of the members of the Church like the East window for example, these will be retained wherever possible although possibly not in quite the original form.
• How about the organ, will it be kept?
The electric organ is now rather old and starting to give some concerns so it will not be kept.
• The access via the Chiltern Rail car park is appalling can anything be done?
We shall seek the support of the local officer responsible and establish whether the recycling bins could be moved to the other end of the car park.
• Will we continue allowing members of the public to use the short cut across the Church grounds?
Yes but we shall retain the Diocese ownership and control.

There were many detail items that were raised such as number of toilets, location of the church hall waste bins and so forth, these questions will be dealt with as we progress.


Update - 14th May 2013 
At its meeting on Monday 13th May, the PCC voted unanimously in favour  of proceeding with the building project to take it through the planning  and Diocese and Advisory Committee approval processes. It was also agreed to appoint one person to co-ordinate the marketing and communication for the project  and another person to co-ordinate the fund raising. The Building for the Future team will  meet this week to continue the process.


Building for the Future - Team Report 5th September 2012

The team met on 25th July 2012 to review the presentations that had been made by potential contractors for the redevelopment of the St Philips site. After discussion, it was unanimously agreed that Kier should be recommended to the PCC as the preferred contractor for the project and this was approved by the PCC at its September meeting.

A meeting was held with Kier when they attended with their nominated architect, Robothams, together with our project management company, Greenwoods.

An open dialogue took place discussing the architect’s proposals in order to make sure he now fully understood the specification that we had provided and to introduce some of the desirable features that we had observed during our visits to the various sites earlier in the year. It was also made clear that we expected the finished worship area to look like a church.

We confirmed that we needed a near final visual scheme by 2nd December and that our budget was £2 million excluding furnishings etc. This presented a challenge to the architect as he felt he would need to reduce the footprint to achieve this level of cost. It was agreed that at least two options would be produced for Kier to evaluate. Also room data sheets would be produced to ensure that our requirements were met. The architect advised that he would complete and agree with us the internal layout before ‘clothing’ the building and that meetings would need to take place as soon as possible.

It was agreed that we should appoint an independent heritage consultant and a quotation for this was requested, also it was agreed that the architect could approach SMBC Planning when he felt it appropriate. The architect asked if he could be present at the time when the visuals are revealed to the congregation to answer any questions that might arise.

Expenditure will now need to continue and the PCC approved that the Vicar and Wardens or Treasurer can authorise this as necessary in view of the tight time schedule to be met. This will be reported to the PCC at its monthly meetings.


Building for the Future PCC Update 23rd July 2012


• 10th January 2011 PCC voted by a large majority to completely demolish all the existing buildings i.e. Hall, Link and Church and rebuild. 

• March 2011 Congregational Meeting following PCC recommendation to go for a Design/Build redevelopment scheme for St Philip’s Church and Hall looking at complete demolition and rebuild (VAT exempt new build project) using a Mayway design for New Church and Church Hall Building

• September 2011 Building for Future development group appointed to lead process through to planning Richard Arbuthnot, Dayo Akinosi, Paul Day, Ann Jones, Sarah Sasse, Ian Cunliffe, Martin Lawrence with consultation from Churchwardens

• October 2011 Diocesan recommendation to work with Greenwood’s Building Project Management, specialists working with other Church projects in Diocese

• Autumn 2011 two stage Tendering process commenced for building contractors, three chosen to include Mayway, Kier, and Mansells

• Throughout Autumn/Spring 2011/12 visiting projects by proposed contractors

• January to Easter 2012 Proposed contractors invited to submit budget costed design proposals in line with our detailed brief developed over the last 20 years!

• June/July 2012 Interview Presentations with proposed contractors

• July 2012 Greenwood’s Final First Stage Tender Report on all three schemes with reconciled costs

• Building for Future Group to meet Wednesday 25th July 2012 to consider Greenwoods report and prepare recommendation for the PCC September meeting

• The aim will be to offer the PCC and congregation one proposal to take forward to planning over the next 12 months. Based on the thesis that money and funding follow vision we aim to give the Congregation a vision for the redevelopment of St Philip’s Church and Church Hall to serve the church and the community’s current needs and to be a robust and flexible building which will be of use to future generations.