Plans submitted for new St John's Church building

A development application has been submitted for additional church facilities beside the iconic St John's Anglican Church.

The plans submitted to Camden Council propose alterations and extensions to the existing state heritage listed church hall, associated site works and extended operating hours.

St John's Anglican Church, built in the 1840s and located at the top of Menangle Street, is arguably Camden's most historic building.

When plans to sell land around the church in order to build additional facilities was first proposed several years ago, it drew criticism from Camden residents, historians and some parishioners.

Moran Health Care Group expressed interest in purchasing the land in 2019, however the sale has not gone ahead as of August 2021.

St John's minister Reverend Tony Galea told the Advertiser at the time the proposed sale was a chance to 'better serve the church's parishioners'.

The proposed two-storey extension will include a foyer, auditorium, kitchen, cry room and amentities on the ground floor, with offices, meeting rooms and additional amenities on the first floor.

A new car park with 33 spaces including two disabled parking spaces, accessed via Broughton Street, will also be constructed if the plan is approved.

The development application submitted to council includes plans for alterations and extension of the churches facilities with a total estimated cost of $5,723,399.

Picture: Chris Lane

Picture: Chris Lane

"The proposal involves slight re-modelling of the approved worship facilities with additional excavation for service spaces, revised materials palette and the construction of a disabled toilet attached to the c1970s small office building," the document states.

"The worship building would be slightly shorter. The blade sign would be replaced with a shorter sign. The worship building would be built with a staged approach. Two trees would be removed."

The heritage impact statement included in the development application for the site states that "the proposed amendment to the approved design would respect the traditional sight line between the church and the 1906 church hall."

"The 1973 church hall remains a useful building, so the Church prefers to retain it," it states.

"The uppermost roof and parapet of the approved building has been lowered, so the proposed building will continue to have no adverse impact on the visibility of the church from the town.

"The amended design of the approved building will have no impact on views from the church or significant views towards the church building.

"The change in materials selected for the new building exterior would have a softer, more contextual appearance.

"Replacing the white aluminium panels and terra cotta tiles on the approved exterior with sandstone and muted grey zinc sheets will lead to a less assertive presentation to the street.

"The selected exterior materials would blend in with the slate greys and the sandstone trims that are common in the Camden conservation area."

The proposed development will require approval under the Heritage Act 1977 from the Heritage Council of NSW.

Residents will be able to provide feedback on the plan from August 27, 2021 to September 30, 2021.