Transformation of Wrexham landmark given accolade of “Best Public or Community Building in Wales”
An iconic 1930s former retail unit in Wrexham that has been transformed into a church and community centre has been named “Best Public or Community Building in Wales”.
The prestigious award from LABC (Local Authority Building Control) was the culmination of three years refurbishment of Hope Street, the former home of a Burton’s Clothing store and now a contemporary Christian church and Community Centre.
Hope Street is the first project from a Church in Wales initiative to support evangelism and church growth by funding ambitious schemes designed to engage people with the Christian faith in vibrant and exciting ways.
Standing in the heart of the town town centre, the three story building provides high end facilities to both Christians and the wider community.
Interior work on Hope Street, which is part of the Diocese of St Asaph, started in March 2020 at the beginning of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the leaders of Hope Street, Revd Rachel Kitchen, said: “In many ways 2020 marked the beginning of a new story for this building as, nearly 90 years after the foundations were laid by the Burton family, it becomes home to a brand-new Christian community.”
“We are delighted that our vision for Hope Street as an open, visible and welcoming Christian space for the community in Wrexham has been recognised with this award.
“Hope Street has been transformed and now includes a café and prayer room on the ground floor, a suite of offices and meeting space on the first floor and worship space on the top floor.
“We have more than 100 adults, young people and children regularly attend services on Sundays; with courses, prayer meetings, a toddler group and student drop-ins throughout the week.”
The refurbishment works were based on designs by Wrexham’s own Lawray Architects and carried out by fit out specialists Spatial Environments and The Simmonds Group, who, despite the pandemic, managed to successfully deliver and handover the project in March 2021.
The ex Burton building underwent comprehensive restoration repairs and refurbishment work which included a new full height internal staircase and a lift shaft that was installed in the space formerly used by the Snack Shack.
In addition, repairs and renovations were done to the outside of the 1930s building in keeping with its original character and bringing it back to life with a new facade and windows, a new shop front onto Hope Street and a second entrance being created from Town Hill.
David Hughes, a Director at Lawray Architects, said: “We are proud of the many award-winning contributions we have made to Wrexham’s built environment over the last 40 years and are committed to finding sustainable solutions that overcome the challenges facing town centre development.
“We see the Hope Street project as integral to that aim and congratulate the Diocese of St Asaph and the Church Revitalisation Trust for their vision.”
Managing Director of Spatial Environments & The Simmonds Group, Phil Simmonds – himself a Wrexham local – was elated that his companies were enlisted to provide the refurbishment works.
He said: “Having grown up in Wrexham, I am extremely proud that we have been given the opportunity to help restore the town to some of its former glory.
“Without doubt, this building is going to be transformative and a cornerstone to the local community and beyond.”
Photography by: Phillip Roberts Photography (https://www.phiIIiProbertsphotoqraPhv.com/)
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