Planners refuse permission for demolition of historic church hall

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PLANNERS at Warrington have refused permission for the demolition of a Locally Listed church hall because of the harmful impact it would have on a conservation area.

The building is the two-storey hall attached to Wycliffe United Reformed Church in Edgeworth Street, Bewsey.
Officers have ruled that the scheme – which would result in the rear wall of the main church being opened up as the main elevation – would result in significant harm to the environment of the Bewsey Street Conservation Area.

They say the proposal would not improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area and would not be a sustainable development. Both the hall – built in 1901 – and the church, dating from 1851, are Locally Listed buildings. Together they form a substantial detached building.

According to a report prepared for the church authorities, the hall is in a poor state of repair. It is standing unused following the discovery of considerable structural movement in 2002.
It is derelict, in a continuing state of disrepair and is beyond sustainable economic repair.

However, its demolition would allow the continued used of the main church, preserving its architectural merit, and safeguard the local community.
The report claims the hall itself has no significant architectural merit and there have been no objections from nearby residents.
But officers say retention of the building would be preferable to provision of a car park and its loss would have a damaging effect on the conservation area, which is of a high value.

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