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Nuns from Our Lady of Fidelity Catholic Church's bid to set up convent in and 20 place pre-school: Folkestone

A religious order is hoping to set up a convent in the centre of Folkestone - equipped with a 20 place pre-school.

The London nuns, from Our Lady of Fidelity Catholic Church, unveiled plans to convert the Shorncliffe Road property into a new chapel alongside four flats as living quarters.

The planning bid, available on the district council’s website, says: “Change of use and conversion to a mix use of chapel with community use, living accommodation for religious order with guest accommodation.

76 Shorncliff Road. Picture: Google
76 Shorncliff Road. Picture: Google

“Construction of a detached single storey building to be used as a pre-school for a maximum of 20 children, together with two self-contained flats and erection of 1.8 meter fence.”

Based in south east London’s Upper Norwood, the sisters’ well-established convent includes a primary and secondary school both rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, a family day centre has recently been built.

GCSEs results are largely in line with the national average and above.

Established in France in 1831, the registered charity now works throughout India and Europe spreading the word of Christ, according to government records.

The church’s proposed Folkestone convent is its latest venture amid “growing concerns” over finances, according to its latest annual statement of accounts.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) previously approved the proposals while the latest development, launched this month, is to make a series of changes to the pre-school building to bolster its size.

We contacted convent superior Sister Bernadette but received no response at the time of going to press.

On behalf of the convent, engineer firm SCS Green Ltd wrote in its design and access statement the site was previously used as a school until 2006.

It adds: "We suggest that there is an opportunity to convert this building into into a mixed use to provide both facilities for the local community, along with accommodation for the community of nuns.

"The construction of the new building alongside number 76 to accomodate the new pre-school nursery facility will be in keeping with the local area.

"The facilities this will provide will complement the expanding residential area."

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