Work starts as green light given for transformation of Holy Trinity

Work has begun at historic Holy Trinity Church after the green light was given for the transformation of Hull’s most amazing place.

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, Chair of the church’s development trust and the project manager for the works joined with Garry Taylor, City Manager, Major Projects and Infrastructure, from Hull City Council, to mark the start of phase one of the scheme.

Announcing the start of works to transform historic Holy Trinity are, from left, Project Manager Mark Coates, Development Trust Chair John Robinson, Vicar Neal Barnes, and Garry Taylor, City Manager, Major Projects and Infrastructure.

It comes after approval from the Diocese of York for extensive external works including a complete revamp of the Holy Trinity churchyard by contractors carrying out Hull City Council’s multi-million pound transformation of the public realm in Hull city centre. The approval, subject to conditions, by the Chancellor of the Diocese of York follows the granting of planning permission by Hull City Council last April.

A key change will be the removal of the wall at the western end of the church to create a fabulous, uninterrupted and completely renovated open area in Trinity Square, as a showpiece events area and gathering place during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture.

It will mean Holy Trinity will be fully open to the community in a wonderful new setting which will host concerts, other performances and community events during 2017 and beyond.

The initial work in the churchyard includes the lifting and recording of commemorative ledger stones, some of which date back to the 1700s, prior to them being retained within Holy Trinity

The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “We are delighted the Chancellor has agreed that these changes will have really significant benefits for the church and the wider community.

“This is great news for Holy Trinity and the city as a whole, as it means the church will be an integral part of what we are sure will be a superb transformation of Trinity Square.

“The churchyard wall closed the church off from the community, which is totally at odds with our mission to be a vital part of the life of the city. The churchyard is also in very poor condition and will now be beautifully resurfaced, ensuring a welcoming and wonderfully attractive setting and entrance to the church.”

The transformation of Holy Trinity will be delivered in three phases:

·         The external works, which will also include limited car parking, particularly for disabled users, on the north side of the church;

·         A remodelling of the Nave to create a flexible space for worship and events, such as concerts and banquets;

·         And, finally, an extension to provide a kitchen and serving area for a high-quality cafe, as well as a refurbished east end of the church including new heritage displays.

Holy Trinity Development Trust Chair John Robinson said: “We are really excited that the physical transformation of Holy Trinity has now begun.

“We have had tremendous support, which means the external works are fully funded from the many very generous contributions we have received. We are also well on the way to raising the funds to deliver phase two of the project.

“We want to thank everyone who has helped us to reach this point and urge others who can support us to come on board to enable us to deliver the wonderful vision for Holy Trinity as a beacon and catalyst for the regeneration of Hull’s Old Town.”

The Holy Trinity project is being delivered in partnership with Hull City Council and the Holy Trinity Development Trust is contributing £400,000 to the costs of the Trinity Square renovation, to account for the works within the church grounds.

Hull City Council’s contractor Eurovia has now extended its works in Trinity Square to within the boundaries of Holy Trinity, which is England’s largest parish church and Hull’s finest grade one listed building.

Project Manager Mark Coates, of Hull civil and structural engineers Alan Wood & Partners, praised the spirit of partnership that was driving the development forward.

He said: “We have worked closely with the city council from the outset to ensure our project complements the programme to enhance the public realm in Hull city centre in readiness for 2017.

“It has been an excellent example of collaborative working and we will now see the benefits as the church and square become united to create the kind of environment that draws visitors to public spaces and great churches in major cities across the world.

“The contractors have now begun preparatory work in the churchyard, with the full programme of works in the square and church grounds scheduled for completion early in 2017.”

Councillor Steven Bayes, Hull City Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for the city centre and UK City of Culture 2017, said: “This exciting scheme will breathe new life into one of Hull’s most important historic buildings and public spaces. The integration of the churchyard into the wider public realm programme will create a stunning new piazza that will highlight the full splendour of Holy Trinity and provide and create a fantastic events space.   

“It’s a great example of different funders and partners coming together to deliver a shared vision that will transform a whole area, ensuring it is a place that people will want to visit for generations to come.”

Initial work in the churchyard involves the lifting and recording of commemorative ledger stones, many of which are cracked and severely damaged. Experts from Humber Field Archaeology will record all the stones, in writing and photographically, and subsequently categorise those worthy of retention within Holy Trinity after the new churchyard surface is laid.

Holy Trinity’s £4.5m development project will enable the church to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become much more accessible to the community and host a wider range of cultural and social events.

It will also create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for the 700-year-old church as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use.

Dr Barnes stressed Holy Trinity would remain open for services and events during the works.

He added: “We will carry on as normal throughout, including for our popular Christmas services and events. We want to continue to encourage people to come into the Old Town and Trinity Square to support the church and all the businesses around us.”