Church praying land deal gets go-ahead

Holy Trinity Church Hall

Holy Trinity Church Hall

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THE minister of a Motherwell church has warned they need to sell off the land their used hall sits on if they are to survive.

But plans to build flats on the site have led to objections from neighbours and council officials.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church was established around 120 years ago in a tin and wood structure in Avon Street.

It was succeeded by the sandstone building next door in 1895 at which point the original structure became the church hall.

However, it fell into disrepair and the church stopped using the hall five years ago.

Rev Alan Wylie explained: “The building was never supposed to be around this long

“It could cost anything up to £1 million to refurbish and we don’t have that kind of money.

“We find it tough enough to raise the £55,000 needed annually to keep the church going and we wouldn’t even have any use for the hall.

“The hall hosted a lot of organisations in its day, but now with the congregation down to around 30 the annexe built on to the church in 1964 is adequate for our needs.”

Holy Trinity was listed in 2001 and Mr Wylie said the money from selling the land the church hall sits on could be put to good use.

He said: “We have just spent £4,000 repairing a small section of the roof, but the whole roof could do with replacing and estimates suggest that would cost £750,000.

CRUMBLE

“The walls are starting to crumble in places and require attention on a regular basis.”

Hamilton property developer Dalegrange has submitted a planning application to North Lanarkshire Council to demolish the church hall and replace it with a block of six flats.

A previous application to demolish the hall was refused in 2007.

At that time Historic Scotland were among the objectors, but this time admit they are unlikely to oppose it.

A spokesman said: “We would take account of the condition of the hall. It is unlikely that we would object in this case.”

The council has received a number of objectors from residents concerned about the shadow which would be cast by the two and half-storey block and an increase in traffic.

It’s transport department is concerned by a perceived lack of visibility for drivers going on to Avon Street from the site, while the planning department has concerns over the design of the block.

Les Stevenson, the council’s business manager of development management, said: “Development involving listed buildings and in conservation areas, particularly where demolition is proposed, has to be considered very carefully to ensure that it is appropriate and sympathetic to the area.

The council has written to Dalegrange’s agent Morag Fowler, of Apex Drawing Services, detailing concerns.

She said: “We have received the latest communication from the council and are involved in ongoing discussions.”