Plans for community church on site of fire-hit carpet store

Darlington and Stockton Times: ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: How a community church in Union Street could look ARTIST'S IMPRESSION: How a community church in Union Street could look

A FIRE-RAVAGED place of worship could be demolished to make way for a community church as part of a £1m regeneration project.

Fire swept through the former church in Union Street, Darlington, in April 2012, when the building was occupied by Fisher Carpets.

Now leaders of nearby Northgate United Reformed Church have announced plans to knock down the Union Street building and replace it with a new facility.

The Northern Echo understands a car park could be built on the site of the Union Street building in the short-term, although artist’s impressions have been released showing how a future community church there could look.

With no opposition from church members, the plans are set to press ahead with the NURC salvaging the best features fromand re-use them in the new building.

Plans for the Union Street site include shops and a community centre, while a church and chapel would occupy the upper storeys.

This follows a trend of building churches as multi-use buildings which are ‘eco-friendly’ and have a low carbon footprint.

There has been a church on the Union Street site for more than 150 years.

Bethel Church, built in 1812, was demolished in 1862 to make way for a new Gothic-style building housing the church until 1975.

Northgate United Reformed Church is also 150 years old.

In 1867, land in Northgate was purchased for £750 from John Pease and a St. George's Church built.

This housed the Presbyterian Church until 1975 and now houses the Northgate United Reformed Church after Darlington's Union Street Congregational Church joined up with St.George's Presbyterian Church and the former Union Street church closed.

Clive Davies, secretary of Northgate United Reformed Church, said: “We’ll be very sad to say goodbye to the church.

“It is magnificent, but costly and unsuitable for a church wanting to be more involved with the community.

“Many tears will be shed should the congregations move, but the intention would be to find another use for the Northgate building and options are being thought about.

“There is no commitment for the Northgate congregation to move and occupy the new building, but this is clearly a strong possibility."

Church members are currently being consulted on the plans.

Mr Davies said a public consultation would follow when a planning application was submitted, although this would be many months away.

Comments (6)

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12:48pm Sat 26 Jan 13

Voice-of-reality says...

The new build hardly 'glorifies god' - looks more like a municipal incineration plant. I further suspect that once the car park has been opened (as a temporary measure) the plans for building will mysteriously fade into the distance.
The new build hardly 'glorifies god' - looks more like a municipal incineration plant. I further suspect that once the car park has been opened (as a temporary measure) the plans for building will mysteriously fade into the distance. Voice-of-reality

3:06pm Sat 26 Jan 13

loan_star says...

I thought that this building was due to be demolished to make way for some of the commercial street shopping development? I know Fisher Carpets were informed they had to move to make way for the development.
I thought that this building was due to be demolished to make way for some of the commercial street shopping development? I know Fisher Carpets were informed they had to move to make way for the development. loan_star

8:49pm Sat 26 Jan 13

Savant_NE says...

I thought it was the revamped Darlington Town Hall
I thought it was the revamped Darlington Town Hall Savant_NE

12:26pm Sun 27 Jan 13

HSC says...

Looks Great - About time some Darlington had some innovative architecture.
Looks Great - About time some Darlington had some innovative architecture. HSC

10:08am Mon 28 Jan 13

Yemen says...

why on earth build another church ... congregations are on the decline, god does not exist and never has... build something useful ! or sell the land to someone to build something useful.
why on earth build another church ... congregations are on the decline, god does not exist and never has... build something useful ! or sell the land to someone to build something useful. Yemen

8:26pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Spy Boy says...

It's not been a place of worship for ages, but it must be listed. It looks better now than that new boxy thing they want to build. Welcome to Darlo the Town Of Boxes.
It's not been a place of worship for ages, but it must be listed. It looks better now than that new boxy thing they want to build. Welcome to Darlo the Town Of Boxes. Spy Boy

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