Demolition plans unveiled for part of historic Wolverhampton church

Part of a 120-year-old church Wolverhampton will be demolished under plans to transform it into an entertainment venue.

Wolverhampton's famous Darlington Street Methodist Church, pictured here in 2003
Wolverhampton's famous Darlington Street Methodist Church, pictured here in 2003

Developers want to turn the old Darlington Street Methodist Church into a "social hub" hosting weddings, jazz concerts, comedy shows and prayer groups.

Now developers have revealed detailed plans for the building's interior, which will see part of the entrance to the Grade II*-listed plot torn down to make it "less claustrophobic".

Rajinder Dhinsa, of Wolverhampton-based Hallmark Investment Properties, said there was a need to demolish "a small pier between two existing doors between the outer entrance hall from Darlington Street and the inner entrance hall".

He added: "The new opening will be spanned by steel beams. The doors will be relocated into the later partition leading into the nave."

Mr Dhinsa said the the inner entrance hall, thought to have been formed in the 1950s, needs to be "less claustrophobic".

"By combining the two spaces will provide a more inviting social space and bar," he said.

The proposals will also see pews "removed and stored", with some retained, while the pulpit array will be "partly retained" and moved.

Mr Dhinsa added: "The main purpose of the nave and attendant rooms will be used as a wedding venue, for receptions, concerts, comedy, dancing, organ recitals, banquets and various other social occasions.

"Religious worship will continue, in part, but for all faiths."

The upper hall will remain unaltered and used for prayer groups, while the undercroft will be turned into a "self-contained jazz club".

The plans will also see the large church organ, made by Nicholson & Co of Worcester, fully restored and used as a centrepiece.

A house on the site will be "rented independently", while the gallery will be used for "various functions".

The church, noted for its large copper dome, closed its doors for services in 2019 and has since been sold.

It has been dubbed one of the country's most endangered buildings by the Victorian Society, which last year warned it faces "a bleak future".

The scheme has met with a mixed response since it was first announced last month.

Councillor Paul Birch said the city did not need "another Asian banqueting centre", while Councillor Lynne Moran said development was "likely to be a good thing".

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