Church seeks permission for eye-catching new Christian community centre on Finchley Road
'Tired and worn' Holy Trinity Swiss Cottage church to be demolished
04 May, 2017 — By Geoffrey Sawyer
The designs submitted to Camden Council for The Lighthouse building
A CHURCH is set to be demolished to make way for a striking new landmark community centre in Finchley Road. Eye-catching designs for the new Lighthouse Building reached the desks of Town Hall planners this week, as they began to review whether to approve a scheme to replace the existing Holy Trinity Church in Swiss Cottage.
The church wants to create a new six-storey building to allow it to expand. Inside, the planning application reveals, there will be a 450-seat auditorium, worship areas, a basement recording studio, a fitness gym and ground-floor, healthy-eating café. The application says: “As their central motif, both the workshop space and the main facade are organised around the pure, universal form of the circle, familiar in the great rose windows and plan geometries of so many Christian buildings.”
The plans have been developed over the last four years. A church has been on the site since 1871 when the old Holy Trinity was built as a place of worship for families of workers building the Metropolitan Line. It was declared unsafe in 1964 and demolished, with the present church built in the 1970s. The application for the new Lighthouse Building says the church as it is “goes unnoticed by passers-by” and is “inefficient, tired and worn, and no longer appropriate for today’s needs”. The church will be renamed The Lighthouse under a “same church with a new identity” transformation.
Church curate Reverend Kristin Bruess says in a promotional film: “There are social needs out there of loneliness and isolation, the needs of people who have been left behind by society. The Lighthouse is an opportunity to fill that need in a beautiful way. When you think about the fact we have land and air on a major north-south artery where 29 million people a year pass by in one of the most influential cities in the world, the idea of creating a place of light and hope and love is so exciting.”
The Reverend Andy Keighley, a senior pastor, adds: “The Lighthouse is about more than a project, it’s about the development of a modern Christian centre for the 21st century and beyond.”