Plans approved for new community facilities at St George's Church in Washington

Plans for new community facilities at a historic church in Washington have been given the green light.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 9:44 pm
Concept designs of how the proposed new extension at Saint George’s Church in Washington could look. Credit: Howarth Litchfield Architects

Last year, a planning application was lodged with Sunderland City Council to redevelop part of Saint George’s Church off Vigo Lane, Fatfield.

This included a ‘wrap-round’ single-storey extension to form a new entrance foyer and canopy, multi-purpose room and community cafe.

A design and access statement, prepared on behalf of the applicant, said the changes aimed to relieve demand on existing community and catering facilities at the site.

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The city council’s planning department approved the application.

A decision report states the extension would not harm the church’s “architectural detailing” and that the proposals “mixed the old and new well.”

The council’s conservation team added the extension would “improve accessibility, commercial opportunity, and quality of experience for users.”

Founded in 1879, St George’s Church has been serving the community for more than 140 years.

The church is also considered as a ‘non-designated heritage asset’ by the council.

The design and access statement submitted last year, and prepared by Howarth Litchfield Architects, outlined the benefits of the revamp.

This included providing an “approachable, welcoming and versatile entrance space and community hub to relieve some of the pressure on the internal space of the existing church.”

In future, the space could be used by community groups, lunch clubs and for training opportunities, alongside the development and expansion of services which already take place at the church.

In their conclusions, Sunderland City Council planners said the planning application was acceptable in terms of the visual impact on the church building and the wider area.

They added the plans were unlikely to cause any harm to protected species and would not result in a “serious detriment to residential amenity or highway safety.”

For more information about the plans for Saint George’s Church, visit: