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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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New Workington arts centre expected to create 50 jobs

Ambitious plans to transform a disused Workington town centre church into a theatre, creating 50 jobs, have been revealed.

trinitychurchplans1503
TRANSFORMATION: Publican Paul Scott wants to convert Workington’s Trinity Methodist Church into an arts centre

Publican Paul Scott, 47, who owns The Vine Bar and The Grapes, wants to change the empty Trinity Methodist Church into the Trinity Theatre and Arts and Craft Centre.

A planning application has been submitted to Allerdale council.

The scheme has the backing of the Methodists, despite initial reservations about the sale of alcohol there.

The Rev Nicola Reynolds, the town’s Methodist minister, said: “It will put Workington on the map which is what it needs.”

She said a change of use would protect the building from vandals and might stop it from becoming “a glorified pigeon loft” like the Methodist Church in Whitehaven.

Mr Scott said the South William Street venue could attract “big names” to Workington.

He added: “West Cumbria deserves more than it has.”

He said the redevelopment would create a venue big enough to stage musicals.

Mr Scott, of Pinfold Street, already has a track record of bringing big name acts to the Vine Bar.

English rock band The Quireboys, Uli Jon Roth, former guitarist for The Scorpions, and Thin Lizzy guitarist Marco Mendoza have performed there.

The world’s premier female DJ Lisa Lashes will perform in the pub next month.

The Vine Bar holds just 100 people but Mr Scott estimates that the church can accommodate between 1,800 and 2,000 over two floors.

If the proposals are given the go-ahead, about 50 people – including bar staff, stewards, doormen and cleaners – would be employed.

Trinity Church is near the Carnegie Theatre, but Mr Scott insisted his arts centre would not be in direct competition with it or the Theatre Royal in Washington Street.

He said: “Certainly Allerdale council, which runs the Carnegie, doesn’t see it as an issue. They seem to think it’s an excellent idea.”

Mr Scott believes the centre could attract acts “too big” for the Theatre Royal and the Carnegie and would benefit bars, restaurants and cafes.

The centre could be used for community projects, band rehearsals, arts and craft shows and weddings, he added.

In 2008 Trinity Methodist Church combined with the United Reformed Church opposite to become the United Church.

The Workington landmark, with its distinctive domed tower, was built around 1898.

Mr Scott declined to reveal how much he would pay for the building, adding that it was a “private matter”.

Have your say

I was just wondering where in this article does it say anything about the property becoming a nightclub?! From what I have read it sounds like a good idea. Anyone who can create 50 jobs in this climate and bring trade to the town deserves backing.

Posted by Miss K on 17 March 2013 at 12:30

so its a night club then!!!!!

Posted by albert on 16 March 2013 at 13:20

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