Holy Trinity submits planning application as part of £4.5m transformation
Hull’s most amazing place, Holy Trinity Church, has submitted a planning application as part of a £4.5m transformation of the magnificent building and its grounds.
The application for full planning consent covers external changes to the Grade 1 listed building in the heart of Hull’s Old Town. The plans will enable Holy Trinity, England’s largest parish church and one of Hull’s oldest surviving buildings, to replace outdated and inadequate facilities, become much more accessible to the community and host a wider range of cultural and social events.
Crucially, the changes will create new income streams to secure a long-term sustainable future for 700-year-old Holy Trinity as a spectacular, vibrant and welcoming place of worship and community use, enjoyed by local people of all ages and by visitors to the city.
The plans include a high-quality, glazed extension to the south-west corner of the church to accommodate a stylish new cafe, kitchen and servery area, with access into the church and out into Trinity Square. The extension will also include new toilets, including an accessible toilet, and a choir rehearsal/meeting room.
It is also proposed to demolish a 1930s extension on the south side of the church, which includes the boiler room and existing toilets, and replace this with a new, larger annexe housing a plant room and new boilers powering underfloor heating and radiators.
Proposed external changes include the partial removal of the Victorian churchyard wall to create a welcoming entrance to the church and a unified, flexible public space in Trinity Square fit to host a variety of services, community and cultural events.
Cracked and uneven flagstones which make the churchyard unsightly, hazardous and unusable as a public space, will be removed, with the area re-laid in natural sandstone. “Ledger stones”, which form memorials to past citizens, will either be re-laid in the grounds or recorded and stored in the church crypt.
The churchyard changes are proposed in partnership with Hull City Council which plans a series of public realm improvements to make Trinity Square a stunning, piazza-style open space in readiness for Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017.
The Holy Trinity planning application states that the proposals “achieve an innovative, high-quality design that is inclusive, enhances the character of the conservation area, and helps the church to sustain its future at the centre of the community”.
The broader plans for the transformation of Holy Trinity also include the restoration and re-modelling of the church’s majestic interior to create a new flexible space in a beautiful setting for Christian worship, as well as to host banquets, concerts and a wide range of cultural events and performances. The internal changes are subject to a separate series of applications for consent to be submitted to the Diocese of York.
The Vicar of Holy Trinity, the Rev Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “Over recent years we have seen encouraging growth in our congregations, activities and profile within the city. That progress has built firm foundations to create a sustainable future for Holy Trinity and these plans are absolutely critical to achieving that.
“We simply have to have modern, fit-for-purpose facilities to provide varied and accessible forms of worship and also the flexibility and space to welcome the community to Holy Trinity for all manner of events.
“These changes will sustain and enhance our Christian mission and our broader role in the life of Hull. Through delivery of these plans, Holy Trinity can become a catalyst and beacon for the regeneration of the Old Town and lead the renaissance of the heritage heart of our great city.”
Councillor Martin Mancey, whose Myton ward includes Holy Trinity and who is also Hull City Council’s Cabinet portfolio holder for Economic Regeneration, Environmental Sustainability and Streetscene, said he fully supported the plans.
He said: “The proposals for Holy Trinity are ambitious and imaginative. They complement the council's objectives for improving the public realm in the city centre and reinvigorating the Old Town.
“They will also enhance significantly the role the church plays in meeting the needs of the local community, both in the near future and for generations to come.”
Consent is also sought to remove 10 trees outside the church, including a large Black Poplar, to prevent further damage to the churchyard and underground drainage and avoid undermining Holy Trinity’s foundations and structure. Compensatory tree planting will be provided in Trinity Square as part of the public realm improvements.
The plans also include taking down sections of the churchyard wall on the north side to create 14 controlled parking spaces to enable cars to be removed from outside the main entrance to the church fronting Trinity Square, enabling the full splendour of the architecture to be experienced. There will also be a new bicycle shelter.
The proposals are the result of more than five years of planning and assessment within the church community of options for the future of Holy Trinity and, more recently, consultation with a wide range of statutory bodies, amenity groups, local residents and businesses, Hull City Council members and officers, and members of the planning committee.
Although conceived long before Hull’s successful bid to be UK City of Culture in 2017, Holy Trinity’s plans will, in effect, create an iconic new venue in time for Hull’s year in the national cultural spotlight.
The Holy Trinity development project was launched publicly last November with £1.5m in firm pledges from benefactors. The remainder of the project costs are expected to be raised from significant donations, trust funds and foundations.
John Robinson, Chair of the Holy Trinity Development Trust, said: “Submission of this planning application is a key milestone in our work to deliver this enormously exciting project.
“A huge amount of work has gone into developing these proposals, which respect the heritage and architecture of Holy Trinity and the Old Town while also enabling a sustainable future for the church.”