Plans to bring historic former Wesleyan church hall back into use

Plans have been approved to bring a former village church hall back into use.

By Nic Marko
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 4:41 pm

Proposals were previously submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council planning department for a change of use to the Gray Memorial Hall Wesleyan School in Greatham.

Under the latest plans the site, originally built in 1903, would be converted into ancillary living accommodation connected to 1 Mill Terrace, with a glass link extension to the rear joining the two sites.

A report from council senior planning officer Jane Tindall confirmed the proposals have now been approved.

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The site in question.

In her report, she said: “In conclusion, it is considered on balance that the application is acceptable with respect to the relevant material planning considerations, and in accordance with the relevant policies of the adopted Hartlepool Local Plan 2018.”

A planning statement from Total Planning Solutions, on behalf of applicants Mr and Mrs Boddy, states the former church hall has been vacant for over 10 years, and would be used as living accommodation for their extended family.

It said: “The proposals will amount to an efficient and effective use of this building within the defined Conservation area which replace an unwanted community facility and instead provide additional accommodation for an existing family to be retained within the village.

“The development will now have a positive impact upon the street scene by creating a high quality development, rather than displaying a vacant property.”

A heritage statement previously outlined how the proposals for the site in the Greatham Conservation Area would help protect the historical significance of the area.

It said: “It is considered that generally the best way of securing the upkeep of historic buildings and curtilage is to keep them in active use.

“The development will aim to preserve the unique historical and architectural character and appearance of the conservation area without impeding on the external character of the building.”

It adds the conversion will offer “social and public value” through the preservation and occupation of the building, assisting in its longevity.

Planning documents also noted there will be “economic benefits” from the proposals during the construction phase, while the plans include just “minimal” alterations overall.