A community space to help those who need it most.
That is what the former Laura Ashley store in the Hornet, Chichester, could become under plans from Revelation Family Church for a new base and outreach centre.
Just weeks after district council officers agreed to let Grace Church convert the old ambulance station in Terminus Road, Revelation is also hoping to re-site operations at its Orchard Street base, currently used for the Chichester Foodbank and a homeless lunch, among other projects.
Church leader Dan Slatter said he hoped the space would allow the church to support even more charitable projects in the city.
He said: “There are a number of organisations that have already approached us about using the space, most of those are charities and community groups, there are no commercial ones in there.
“Our heart would be a space that’s to the benefit of the community and our particular focus in that would be some of the most vulnerable people in Chichester.”
He said the current provision for community space in the city was problematic for groups looking to run weekly projects, partly due to the size and limited availablility of suitable halls and venues.
Revelation has been running its weekly lunch for the homeless every week for the last 30 years, he added, but such projects were difficult to expand in the existing office in Orchard Street.
At around 650 square metres of ground and first floor space, Dan said he hoped the refurbishment work would create a flexible, multi-use venue for various groups.
“We’ve been out of a building now for four or five years so we’ve been in a sort of mobile form,” Dan said.
“I think there’s real excitement in the church, but not excitement really for ourselves but the vision we have to support the community.”
He said there were no plans, if the planning application went through, to sell the Orchard Street site, but the church would look to repurpose it effectively.
A design and access statement on the application to the district council notes that the Laura Ashley site has been vacant since mid-2017 and requests a change of use from retail occupancy for worship, counselling and other uses.