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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Residents' fears over Workington church conversion

People living near to a disused church earmarked to be transformed into a theatre have raised concerns about the development.

Trinity Methodist Church photo
Paul Scott at the Trinity Methodist Church

Publican Paul Scott, who owns The Vine Bar and The Grapes at Workington, has applied for planning permission to change the empty Trinity Methodist Church into a theatre and arts and craft centre.

A consultation into the plans was launched when the plans were submitted to Allerdale Council last month and the News & Star can now reveal the outcome.

Amanda Marshall, of Wybrow Terrace, objected to the plans. She said that during performances at the theatre the public will “undoubtedly” want to exit the premises and will lead to groups of people standing around outside.

“Due to consumption of alcohol there could be raised voices causing a disturbance in an otherwise residential area,” she added. She also has concerns with parking and increased traffic.

Another objector, Sean Mccarron, said that there was “no need” for the theatre as there is already a suitable place for “this type of entertainment” at the Carnegie Theatre on Finkle Street.

And John Metherell who lives on the same street said that he has taken advice from a local land agent regarding the value of his property and has been advised that it would be devalued by up to 10 per cent.

“Basically, what it means is that a row of Georgian terraced houses in a very desirable location which currently sell very quickly will become almost impossible to sell.”

Cumbria County Council’s historic environment officer, Jeremy Parsons, said that records indicate the church was designed in 1890 and is one of the “grandest Non-conformist churches in the county.”

He added: “Any sympathetic scheme that maintains a viable use for the building would be supported, and while the exterior of the building will virtually stay the same in the proposed conversion, the interior will be impacted upon.”

He has recommended that an archeological building recording programme be undertaken.

If the proposals are given the go-ahead, about 50 people would be employed. Trinity Church is near the Carnegie Theatre, but Mr Scott insisted his arts centre would not be in direct competition with it or the Theatre Royal in Washington Street.

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