PLANS to transform the outside of a former men’s clothing shop in Wrexham have been put forward as work to turn it into a Christian faith centre progresses.

The old Burton store on the corner of Hope Street in the town centre was bought by the Diocese of St Asaph earlier this year after standing vacant for more than a decade.

Work started in the summer to convert the 1930s building into a resource centre, which is due to open next year, after proposals to change its use were approved.

A full planning application has now been entered which will see a new entrance created on Town Hill and a lift shaft installed in the space formerly used by the Snack Shack food takeaway.

The Leader:

Andy and Rachel Kitchen have been chosen as the leaders of the Hope Street project in Wrexham. Source: Diocese of St Asaph

In addition, some repairs and alternations are proposed to renovate the outside of the three-storey property and improve disabled access.

The project was the first to receive a £1.9m grant from the Church in Wales’ Evangelism Fund, set up to to attract more young people and families.

The Archdeacon of Wrexham, John Lomas, who is co-ordinating the project for the diocese, said: “This is an exciting next stage in the project to convert this much loved but abandoned building in Wrexham into a Christian centre.

“Our plans retain the original look of the building but will ensure it is fit for the twenty first century.

The Leader:

Work has already got underway to refurbish the old Burton store in Wrexham after window displays were recently put up. Source: Diocese of St Asaph

“We’re also excited to be offering a first sight of the indicative plans for the inside of the building, which will see activities taking place across all three floors.

“Work is already underway to remove the shop-fittings, and this will allow the internal design of the building to begin.”

Plans set out by church leaders include worship space, training rooms, a kitchen and a community engagement space, as well as a base to support rough sleepers and children left hungry during the school holidays.

The latest proposals would also result in the demolition of a single-storey block at the back of the property.

Earlier this year, the leaders of the project simply named as “Hope Street” were announced.

Andy and Rachel Kitchen, who are both ordained, will be developing a team of staff for the centre.

Andy said: “In many ways 2020 will mark 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.

“Whilst we are still working on some aspects of the inside, our brief is that internally the building will be welcoming and hospitable; bright and informal – a space where people from all walks of life – whatever their experience of faith or church – can come as they are and feel at ease.

“We love that the address is 1 Hope Street, and we hope that once complete, “Hope Street” will function to make a big contribution both materially and spiritually to the life of Wrexham.”

Wrexham Council is expected to make a decision on the plans at a later date.

Hope Street is expected to open in September 2020 and work alongside existing churches in Wrexham.