Property developers take a church in Wales to court after it pulls out of scheme

A church in Wales is involved in an unholy row with two property developers after being accused of reneging on a building scheme.

Property developers Samuel Beilin and William Kearns say they have lost more than £600,000 after the Welsh church encouraged them to spend money on a scheme to develop the Bethel Chapel.

It is alleged that after spending four years funding planning permissions and development schemes, encouraged by the Properties Board of the Calvanistic Methodist Church of Wales, they received a letter pulling out of the scheme.

The church, also known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales, plans to sell the site to another developer and is likely to win planning permission after the work put in by the developers.

Mr Beilin, Mr Kearns, and TRB Estates (Liverpool) say they have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the scheme, and that the church pulled out of the project knowing it was likely the planning application would be granted.

Now the three are suing for “proprietary estoppel”, and are claiming damages for the loss of opportunity to develop the chapel, loss of profit, and for the expenses they have incurred.

They value their claim at more than £600,000, and are also suing Dr Benjamin Rees, of Bethel Chapel in Heathfield Road, Liverpool.

They had originally entered into arrangements with the church in April 2002, when the church asked them to develop the site. As a result they say they expected to be the developers of the scheme, and that the church encouraged them in this expectation.