Weston-super-Mare church to become art studio and residence

A church in Somerset is set to become an art studio after it closes in 2020.

Planning permission has now been granted to convert the interior of the historic Church Road Methodist Church in Weston-super-Mare into a studio apartment next to a house for the owner and his partner.

Having been bought for £200,000, much of the church will remain untouched at first glance, as it forms part of the Weston-super-Mare conservation area.

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Having originally been issued for closure in 2019, details of the planning application indicate that the lack of parking and the relocation of many of the area’s vibrant stores has caused the sites to fall.

He states “A significant issue in the closure of this church is the lack of nearby parking, which makes it difficult for our older members to reach the church and unattractive as an avenue for others. The lack of people able to occupying a position due to illness and frailty is the other main factor.”

It was pointed out that the appearance and character of the church will not undergo any change as it is a “highlight of the street scene”.

“There are no proposals to undertake any changes to the exterior appearance of the church. Bringing a new use to this redundant church will help preserve its physical condition and the character of the building.”

It is the interior of the building which will undergo the most significant change, the meeting room to be the subject of the greatest modification.

The interior of the building will see the majority of the changes, while retaining many of its original features

A new first floor will be installed to provide two bedrooms, a bathroom and unspecified ancillary habitable accommodation.

There will also be some minor modifications to the roof on the south side, with skylights being installed.

However, these changes are described as “mild and non-harmful”.

An ecological report was also completed assessing any impact on the current bat population, which was deemed minimal.

In conclusion, the board granted authorization on the basis of:

1. The loss of this community asset has been tested against relevant local plan policy. Confirmation of the location’s unsuitability and lack of commercial interest for continued community use meets the policy’s criteria.

2. The nature of the proposal preserves the integrity of the architectural quality of the church. This is a commendable feature of the regime. The connected assembly hall has relatively less heritage value, but the nature of the change, manifested in the installation of skylights, also retains the character of the building and the relationship to the church.

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