Church secures revamp award

St Giles' Church in Pontefract town centre has had a renovation of it's interior. (P522B325)
St Giles' Church in Pontefract town centre has had a renovation of it's interior. (P522B325)

Pontefract’s St Giles’ Church has scooped another award following its £660,000 revamp last year.

The building - parts of which date from the 12th century – has won the Building Conservation Award at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Pro Yorkshire Awards.

St Giles’ beat competition from six other shortlisted projects across the county.

Bill Bradley, project manager at St Giles’ said: “I’m delighted the work undertaken at the church has been recognised by the RICS.

“Although much of the credit must go to the architect, John Cunnington, a considerable amount of time, energy and financial support has been given by the members of the congregation and the ten funding bodies without which the project would not have progressed beyond the drawing.”

The work took almost two years to complete and the new west end of the church now has improved access as well as a new reception area, kitchen, community cafe, toilets and meeting rooms. There is also a new stone floor.

In a report the RICS said: “St Giles’ is an excellent example of how to create space in a building without new extensions.

“Creative use of existing internal volume and working with the grain of the building has delivered an outstanding conservation project.

“The project has revitalised an historic building in the heart of a community-giving it more uses, flexible spaces and added viability.

“All this has been achieved without losing the integrity of the church or its primary purpose as a sacred space.”

Judges also said the revamp had to led to improved facilities and access for visitors.

The report added: “The scheme required major internal alterations to this Grade II* -listed building introducing improved facilities on a new first floor and flexible ground floor space, which address the issues of access and inclusion identified through an exhaustive community consultation process.

“The design successfully introduces new elements with clarity and sensitivity, respecting the buildings heritage and layers of architecture and archaeology.

“The project has secured the long term future of an expanding community presence at the heart of Pontefract.”

As well as the RICS award, the church also won the heritage prize category in Pontefract Civic Society’s annual design awards in April in recognition of its refurbishment works.