Cause UK friend, broadcaster, businesswoman and campaigner, Selina Scott, has announced her support for the major redevelopment of an iconic building in a Yorkshire market town that has national significance.
Located in the heart of the rapidly growing market town of Malton, the Methodist Church has launched a £1m appeal to regenerate its large Grade II* listed building to secure its future. It will be renamed the Wesley Centre with plans to equip it – not only as a place of worship in the 21st century – but as a community hub which visitors and the whole community can use. The Sunday Times has placed Malton in its Top 10 Best Places to Live Guide 2018 for the north of England, one of six towns in Yorkshire, and the only such town in the district of Ryedale.
Paul Emberley, Wesley Centre Development Lead, said: “Conservationists say this building is very special. There are only 41 Grade II* listed Methodist buildings in Britain, and ours is just one of two such buildings in the entire Yorkshire North and East Methodist Church District. There are only three other Grade II* Methodist Churches in Britain that are older. It’s a rare surviving example.”
The building which has been on Saville Street in Malton for more than 207 years was designed by the architect Rev William Jenkins, who worked alongside John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It is one of only two surviving Grade II* listed building designed by Jenkins in Britain that are still in regular use today.
Patron of the appeal, Selina Scott who lives in north Yorkshire, said: “Malton, and its Methodist church, is dear to my heart. My grandfather used to be a Wesleyan preacher in Malton. My father, Charles, was chairman of Ryedale District Council, the authority governing Malton, so this heritage is precious to me.”
It has twice been put up for sale and was at risk of permanent closure after the discovery of a significant structural issue with its roof in September 2015.
An extensive consultation with Malton residents in 2016 uncovered a dearth of buildings for community use – a driving force behind the redevelopment plans. Paul said: “But it’s much more than simply saving a very fine building, it’s about providing new spaces for a growing community too. Over its 200 year history the building has been at the centre of community life and we intend to revitalise that.”
Malton, which is at the heart of southern Ryedale is expanding rapidly. With around 5,000 residents over the last 250 years, by 2027, the population is set to increase by up to 50%.
Now that the roof has been fully repaired at a cost of more than £120,000, plans for the Wesley Centre include a sensitive transformation of the 550-seat space for concerts, conferences, banqueting and other events, and with a large café open each day, all to help fuel a solid business plan to maintain the building for future generations. One of its key attractions will be the reinstatement of a large restored historic pipe organ after the original was removed 20 years ago.
Selina Scott added: “We’ve seen beautiful buildings similar to this across the country completely gutted and turned into pubs or supermarkets. One of the issues I passionately campaign against is developers being given carte blanche to wreck beauty. The ancient market town of Malton shows that rural economies can succeed while cherishing and safeguarding the qualities that give the beautiful and friendly town so much of its character. I know Malton treasures its heritage, and will get behind the appeal to safeguard this beautiful building.”
To find out more and to donate to the appeal go to www.maltonwesleycentre.org
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