An article published by the Westmorland Gazette about the Grange planning application was misleading, and the paper has been asked to issue a correction.
The headline of the misleading article read, "Plans to partly-demolish Grange Methodist Church are withdrawn." But in her letter to the Gazette reporter responsible, Rev. Jo Rand explained:
"At Grange Methodist Church we do have a significant buildings project in development, with the primary purpose of improving access and facilities for the whole community. This will be of huge benefit to the newly reopened baby group, the weekly community coffee morning, FoodShare project, Guides, Brownies and Rainbows, local theatre and exercise groups and others, and opens up wider possibilities to serve and support the residents of Grange and surrounding communities. Also included in the plans is a sustainable replacement for the very elderly and inefficient heating system, in line with our commitment to care for God’s creation.
SL/2021/0688 has been withdrawn, but only because that related to
listed building consent, and had been submitted in error. For churches,
listed building consent is dealt with by a different body that
specialises in heritage and conservation of ecclesiastical buildings,
and these permissions had already been granted.
Our plans, drawn up by Cartmel-based firm, John Coward Architects, have been praised by that body for the way in which they sensitively make this historic building fit for 21st Century use. Application SL/2021/0687, seeking Local Authority planning permission for this whole project has also now been approved.
We do very much value and celebrate the heritage in our church buildings, but the current ‘step-free’ access at Grange Methodist Church takes a hidden and difficult route around the back of the vestry, past the former outdoor urinals and the wheely bin storage and up a sharp slope to come in a rear entrance by the boiler and former kitchen. The proposed project would remove this concealed part of the building, along with the small vestry, and replace them with a welcoming, level entrance that is accessible to all, rather than needing to send young and old with access needs along a narrow passage ‘round the back’. The plans also include demolition of the poorly designed kitchen extension dating from the 1990s in order to restore the frontage of the church hall (1903) to its original state.
A lot of fundraising is needed in order for the project to go ahead, but we look forward with excitement and enthusiasm to the revitalisation of this important community building, and the many new possibilities for its use. If any readers would like more information about what’s on at Grange Methodist Church, you can find us on Facebook @GrangeMethodists, and on our website, www.slakesmethodist.org.uk/grangeoversands."