Fife Council’s application committee has approved plans for the new-build extension of St Andrew’s Church in Lochgelly enabling the town to provide a national competition standard climbing facility. These extension works are now joining the recently completed existing church building refurbishment works to provide the community bouldering facilities.
St Andrew’s is a key building and asset to Lochgelly, which has been empty since 2006. It was therefore important to the community that the church be reused, as well as that the renovations restore and retain its original features wherever possible. Developing the project design proposals, ECD Architects worked with Fife Council’s Town Centre Development Unit, its development partner social enterprise Rockgelly and Fife Historic Buildings Trust for creation of the project initial design proposals throughout the feasibility process.
Residents were then approached at the Lochgelly Gala 2017 with questionnaires to be completed and further feedback provided. The project has recently been submitted for full planning permission and has the potential to bring new life to this building, protecting its heritage for future generations whilst providing recreational facilities to the local community and visitors to the area.
Once complete, the new facility will provide a cafe area; multi level soft play area; bouldering wall(s); top roping and Competition standard climbing arena; viewing platform/chill out space; and washrooms.
Lorraine Bell, Manager of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said: “Achievement of planning consents is a significant milestone — achieved through close joint working between ECD Architects, Fife Council, Rockgelly and ourselves. We are excited about helping to bring this new facility to Lochgelly and seeing another historic building find a new life that benefits its local community.”
Jennifer Rooney at ECD and the Lead Project Architect for the church conversion commented upon the scheme’s success: “It’s exciting to be able to re-vitalise the existing church building and create such an exciting recreational facility. As a climbing centre, the scale of the building is large; however, the form has been designed such that it relates to the surrounding context with the lower-level training walls positioned to the north, adjacent to the Cook Square housing development, and the extension designed with semi-translucent backlit cladding to reduce the massing and add interest when viewed from the future town square to the South.”
Alistair Cameron, the Project Director at ECD Architects commented: “As a historic building within the centre of Lochgelly the re-vitalisation of St Andrew’s is very important to the town. ECD has been involved in community, commercial and housing projects as part of the regeneration of Lochgelly town centre since 2009 — a project which was winner of Placemaking and Planning Awards in both the Economic Growth and Regional awards. As a social enterprise, the new facility will bring social, health and economic benefits to the area continuing the amazing regeneration of the area.”