Chamber seeks views on renovation of future home

By Tim Aldred

13 Dec 2023

Chamber At St Johns

Lancaster and Morecambe Chamber of Commerce is seeking views from both members and non-members on the renovation of St John's church, which will eventually become its new home.

The chamber currently resides at Lancaster and Morecambe College, a temporary residence while work is undertaken at the city centre property.

St John’s Church, built in 1754-5, was last used as a place of worship in 1983 and has not benefited from a long-term occupant since. It was damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015 and currently sits on the Heritage at Risk Register, meaning its historic and architectural significance is under threat.

Now The Churches Conservation Trust has plans to renovate the building for use by businesses and the general public. National Lottery funds of £393,507 will pay for developing architectural designs, including repair, conservation and devising a sustainable approach to heating and lighting the sizeable building.

The chamber is currently working with Mosedale Gillatt Architects to develop a scheme that will repair the historic fabric of the building, transform the interior to create working spaces on the ground floor and gallery, private offices, and a café area, with plans for an extension to the north which will house supporting facilities including further offices, a large meeting room, and WCs and shower.

The churchyard will be landscaped and open to the public, offering outdoor seating and a place for reflection. 

Chris Garnder, chamber president, said: "The Chamber at St John’s will add a place-based offer to our strategy to connect, support and represent the interests of employers and businesses in Lancaster and Morecambe.

"This will be a place to do business, to work from, to meet and socialise. We need to know if you would use the Chamber and St John’s, and if so how to help shape the offer so we can make this a reality for the people, businesses, charities and social enterprises in Lancaster and Morecambe."

Further details of the plans can be viewed here and you can have your say here.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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