A planning application for the Boldon United Reformed Church at 53 Front Street, East Boldon, in the Cleadon and East Boldon ward, has been submitted to South Tyneside Council’s planning department.
According to planning documents submitted with the application, the building – built in the Victorian Gothic revival style – dates back to around 1876 and had a further extension in the 1970s, but now sits vacant.
Under new plans, the church could be converted into a fitness studio which, applicants say, would lend itself to the building’s open plan layout.
A design and access statement submitted to the council confirms no additional floorspace or extensions will be created.
Applicants also said the new fitness studio would “make provision for level access, internal circulation and accommodation for disabled users”.
The design and access statement adds: “The site is suitably located within the main street of East Boldon, the building being accessible for both residents and those from further environs [and] the building is located on a public transport route.
“Although there is no existing car parking on site, the existing church use has not created any traffic problems previously and there Is more than adequate on-street car parking and parking behind the public house and auction rooms to accommodate the newly proposed fitness centre.”
Proposed opening hours for the fitness studio use include 9am-7pm, Monday to Friday and 9am-12noon on Saturdays.
The former church sits within the East Boldon Conservation Area.
Previous council documents detail the building as being of coarse limestone with sandstone dressings, with an earlier red-brick church hall dating to around 1863.
It lists both as ‘typical gothic revival buildings of their time and, though modest, make bold contributions to the street scene worthy of their use and significance’.
Authors are less complimentary about ‘the boxy 1970s extension to the church’, however, noting it is ‘a poor addition in form, materials and siting, with its dull, blank elevations’.
A decision on the planning application for the fitness studio will be made once a period of public consultation has concluded.
For more information on the bid or to track its progress, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0280/22/FUL