Ambitious plans to develop The Wesley Centre in Saville Street, Malton, have been approved by Ryedale District Council.
The venue, formally known as as Malton Methodist Church, will see the historic building transformed a much-needed Community Hub for the town.
While continuing to be a place of worship, the centre is also to be partly re-purposed as a fine concert hall, and its facilities will also include space for conferences, exhibitions, banqueting and receptions, and public meetings.
Phase one of the £2.4 million project, the major repair of the large roof was completed at the end of May, and the building was re-opened to visitors and for special events at the beginning of June this year.
Phase two of the scheme is about to start, with the complete refurbishment of the adjoining building at the north wing (12 Saville Street) which is to be partly occupied in early 2019 by Malton Town Council as its new permanent base in the town.
As part of phase three, the reinstatement of the large three-storey ‘east wing’, adjoining the rear of the church building will house many of the community facilities for the hub, including an array of varying sized meet rooms able to accommodate between six and 80 people.
Full details of the plans are being displayed at an exhibition in the Wesley Centre, which is open daily between 10am and 4pm.
Paul Emberley, development lead for the major project, said: “This is another significant milestone for the Wesley Centre.
“We first developed our vision for the building in June 2016 following consultation with Malton residents and user groups – and it’s been a long process of negotiation to secure approval for the sensitive changes to our 1811 Grade II listed building, including with Historic England and other statutory consultees.
“The Methodist Council in Great Britain gave its approval to the whole scheme in August 2018 – and planning consent from the local authority was the final element we’ve been waiting for. With all permissions now secured for the project, we’re now able to step up our fundraising for the whole scheme; we’re making good progress and we currently expect to reach the necessary target towards the end of 2019.
“Whilst it’s not been our overriding objective, the heritage of this wonderful building is also now able to be secured for future generations to enjoy – and as a revitalised landmark in our town.
“Unusually, a large pipe organ is also to be reinstated to the Wesley Centre, the last such instrument having been removed from the building in 1998.
“Donations towards the restoration of the organ, or towards the wider project, can be made through the website www.maltonwesleycentre.org or by calling 01653 698626.”