Ashfield church launches ambitious expansion plans with state-of-the-art new base
A popular Ashfield church has revealed ambitious expansion plans to build new premises on land adjacent to its current site.
The Ashwood Church, located on Portland Street, Kirkby, regularly sees between 150 to 180 worshippers attending services – and plans have now been submitted to Ashfield District Council to build a new centre which could accommodate up to 350 people.
The move would see the creation of a new hall, cafe and reception area, along with outside seating and car parking for 42 vehicles, including four disabled spaces.
A report sent to the council’s planning department states that the church has outgrown its current base and needs to expand to to continue to grow its work in the community.
The church was first established in Ravenshead 45 years ago, before expanding into Coxmoor and Kirkby where it is currently based.
Through the Covid pandemic services have been held virtually and the proposed new building is part of the church’s plans to return to face-to-face worship, the report states.
“For the last few years it has been recognised that the current building does not meet the current or future needs” the report states.
“Maintenance has become an increasing issue and the church and one of our partner organisations has effectively outgrown the current capacity. The church has a passion to not only continue our existing activities but to also develop further initiatives to serve the people in Kirkby and the surrounding area.
“Upgrading the current building is not an option for two primary reasons. Firstly the existing building stock is dilapidated and expensive to run. Secondly, the existing building does not lend itself to being renovated and extended. It is the logical step now to develop a brand new facility.
"The church now has a regular attendance of around 150 people rising to 180 people on occasions. The church growth is hindered by the size of the existing main hall and building. During the last 18 years the church has gained invaluable experience working with charities, community groups and partnering regularly with Ashfield District Council for events within the town.
"The church believes and hopes that it makes a real difference to many people in not just Kirkby but with those in the nearby area.”
The new Ashwood Centre would include:
A main hall to seat up to 350 people to accommodate the growing congregation and to accommodate a wider range of community activities; A café not only associated with meetings and activities, but a place where people can meet; A large foyer for people to mingle and to get around the building easily; A crèche/toddler space; A number of smaller meeting rooms, interlinked and for various smaller activities and meetings; A commercial standard kitchen and servery; An office base for full time, part time staff and volunteers; Toilet facilities including those for the disabled; A food bank and other storage spaces.
The current proposal is for a two-storey development to cover a total area of 1,250ms, but the report states that a further expansion could take place – adding a third floor to create a total space of 1,500ms.
The plans will be considered by Ashfield District Council at a future date.