Housing plans would keep old Cobholm church characteristics

St Luke's Church, Cobholm.

St Luke's Church, Cobholm.

Plans have been submitted to turn a Great Yarmouth community church, which was the centre of a funding debate when it closed in 2012, into six houses.

Plannng applications have been submitted to turn St Luke's Church, in Cobholm, into five homes

Plannng applications have been submitted to turn St Luke's Church, in Cobholm, into five homes - Credit: Andrew Middleton

The church of St Luke's in Mill Road, Cobholm, was a cornerstone of local life for over 100 years. It first opened in 1908 to ease the strain on St Nicholas in Yarmouth town centre - now the Minster - and the foundation stone at St Luke's is the only clue to its age.

The change of use comes after the diocese said no-one from the community stepped forward to take over the place of worship, as repair bills of over £100,000 mounted and the congregation shrunk.

Now developers are looking to convert the church into six three-storey houses. Five of the properties will have two bedrooms, with the other having three bedrooms.

Like much of the town, the church suffered damage from bombing during the Second World War and then floods in 1953. This led to the original Edwardian-style wooden structure being replaced in 1960 by the brick building seen today, and original features such as the square bell turret were recreated.

Rebuilding of St Luke's church in Cobholm following damage in WW2 bombing and 1953 floods, dated May

Rebuilding of St Luke's church in Cobholm following damage in WW2 bombing and 1953 floods, dated May 1960 - Credit: Archant

The majority of funds raised to rebuild the church came from Cobholm residents, adding to the community feel of the house of prayer. And this continued until its closure, when just months prior a war memorial was unveiled to honour service personnel and residents of Cobholm killed in wars since 1914.

Many of the defining characteristics of the church are to remain to the same, including the red face brickwork and red clay tiles, with the extra addition of glass roofing for conservatories.

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The stone lined leaded glass windows are also to remain, with the addition of aluminium or timber inserts within the frame, and where new doors are installed they will be timber, with the stonework matched to that which is already in place.

Architectural designer Andrew Middleton, the agent for the build, said these features were deliberately kept in place. 'At first there was talk of demolishing and starting again, but we've gone in another direction and tried to maintain the church as it is within the confines of the existing structure,' he said.

'And it's worked out really nicely, it's a lovely scheme and they all have garden space. It's in-keeping with it's surroundings.'

If planning permission is granted, work is due to get underway immediately, with a time frame of nine to 10 months to completion - if not sooner.