A NOTORIOUS nightclub could soon become a place of worship after plans were submitted to Sunderland City Council.
Once the rave capital of the North East, the New Monkey had hundreds of hardcore dance music fans through its doors every week.
But, as reported in the Echo, soon visitors to the site of the notorious private members’ club, in Ford Terrace, Pallion, could worship to more saintly tunes if it becomes a Christian church.
Living Praise Sunderland, a branch of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has now submitted an application to turn the club, once infamous for drug use and late-night police raids, into a community centre and place of worship.
Pastor Johnson Fajorin, spokesman for the RCCG, said: “I can confirm we have put in an application to change the use of the premises.
“I’m local, so I have a good idea of what is needed in the community.
“The plan is for the local people to come together and do things together.
“The building will be open to everyone, and projects will run seven days a week.”
The proposal aims to use the derelict building to serve the elderly, youths, children and people of the Christian faith.
Projects will be set up for each group, including knitting classes and weekly dance lessons for the elderly, while children would be able to take part in drama classes and poem recitals.
Other community projects could include offering the use of the function hall – once the New Monkey’s dance floor – for non-alcoholic wedding receptions and other occasions.
Christian church services would take place three times a week.
Millfield councillor Iain Kay said: “Given that the intended use is a church, local people will be much happier with it than when it was a nightclub.
“I think there will be quite a lot of questions about opening times and parking, but given the size of the building, there aren’t many other things you could use it for other than a church.
“I’m delighted that someone has come along with an intention to use the building for a good cause.
“It’s so much better, after it was standing empty for years.”
Pastor Fajorin, 52, from Millfield, said: “It won’t just be a place of worship – we want the whole community to use it, and would like local charities to get involved and use the facilities too.
“The church will just be one small part of the building.
“We have asked architects to draw up plans for the work to the inside, which is mostly cosmetic, although we do not have those yet. If the plan goes through in May, we want to give ourselves about a year to do the work.”