Last Updated : June 2009
VWB Architects

Religious Projects



2706 St. JOHN’S CHURCH, Walton, Chesterfield.


RIBA Sector     Religious Buildings – Christian / Culture & Entertainment – Community Centres

Key Services    Full Architectural Service

Start Year         2002

End Year          2006

Gross Area       320m2

Contract Sum   £500,000-00

Main Client       St.John’s Walton PCC

Procurement    JCT IFC98

Funding           Private


Project Description

VWB Architects were appointed in 2002 following a successful fee proposal and interview to carry out a full consultancy service for the St.John’s Walton PCC to design a new Church and community rooms that would link with their adjacent Church Centre built in the early 1990’s.


Early feasibility studies considered the possibility of retaining at least in part the existing stone Church but with limited site area it was not possible to integrate the 70 seat structure with the need for a much larger 200 person capacity building.  The PCC, local Diocese and Local Planning Authority fully supported the demolition and replacement of the existing with a larger new build proposal. Existing stone was recycled locally and various stone features were retained on site for reuse in the memorial garden.


From the St. John’s Walton website ... ‘The Church was originally built in 1917 as a daughter church in the larger parish of St.Thomas Brampton. Back then it served a small rural hamlet, just outside Chesterfield. Now Walton has grown to be a thriving suburb and the Church has grown too.  In 2000, St.John's 'came of age'. The new Parish of Walton was created and St John’s became a Parish Church. The last few years have seen sustained growth, so much so that we outgrew the original Church. The only way forward was to take down the old Church, and in 2006, our new Church building was opened.’


The new Church provides a large space for the 200 person congregation with sloping ceilings rising to a central ridge running towards a feature gabled stained glass window (designed by stained glass artist Rona Moody) at the Chancel. External walls are constructed with natural and ashlar stone and the steeply pitched roof is covered with clay tiles. There are two smaller lead roofed feature gable windows to the sides.


The new Church is only part of a larger planning approved scheme that aims to provide a comprehensive church and community facility. With the phase 1 Church complete at the beginning of 2006 the church members and local community began raising funds for phase 2 that could begin construction in 2009. The second phase will link the new Church and adjacent Church Centre to provide additional activity / meeting / teaching rooms, a crèche, enlarged kitchen and a central concourse foyer.





RIBA Sector     Religious Buildings – Christian / Culture & Entertainment – Community Centres

Key Services    Full Architectural Service

Start Year         2004

End Year          2006

Gross Area       750m2

Contract Sum   £510,000-00

Main Client       Sandbach Methodist Church

Procurement    JCT IFC 98     

Funding           Private


Project Description

VWB Architects were appointed in 2004 following a successful fee proposal and interview to continue the design for a new church hall following the unfortunate death of their long standing architect.  The client was proposing to replace an existing Victorian building with a relocated new Church Hall with the help of lottery funding.  Unfortunately lottery funding was not forthcoming for the proposed new community facility and so the decision was made to consider the more affordable refurbishment and extension of the existing Victorian building.

A new brief of requirements was agreed and various feasibility proposals prepared for a facility that would enhance and extend the range of facilities available to the church members and local community and update the building for a long and successful future mostly funded by the generosity of church members.

The existing building was in poor condition following years of underfunding in anticipation of replacement. An extension was proposed to add modern toilet facilities including for the disabled, a lift and staircase to give good access to the first floor that contained much underused space. The Playgroup / Crèche were a major user of the facility and the refurbishment and alteration of the building has enabled great improvements to their safe use and control of the facility. Changes to the circulation routes and access control at ground and first floor have enabled dual use of conflicting activities, important to enable maximum income.

Major alteration and enlargement of the kitchen including new equipment have given new life to the catering team who regularly serve three course meals to local groups. The refurbished main hall allows many activities including for children playing, banqueting, bowls, meetings and concerts etc.

The full service provided has included a measured survey of the existing building; feasibility studies and sketch proposals to reach an agreed scheme; applications for planning and listed building consents; preparation of technical information and application for building regulation approvals; preparation of written specifications and documents to obtain competitive tenders from builders; administration of a building contract; and inspection of the works during the construction phase.

The design team also included a Quantity Surveyor, Building Services Engineer and Structural Engineer.















































































RIBA Sector     Religious Buildings - Christian

Key Services    Full Architectural Service

Start Year         2000

End Year          2007

Gross Area       n/a

Contract Sum   £350,000-00

Main Client       Congleton United Reformed Church.


Funding           Private


Project Description

The wide range of work involved included the following:

INTERNAL MAJOR REPAIRS  Approximate cost £100,000 at year 2000 prices.

Dealing with two outbreaks of dry rot.

The total removal of the very high main Church plaster ceiling, which was cracking dangerously, and its sympathetic replacement with modern materials, though one could not tell.

The re-roofing of the main entrance porch, which had probably leaked from Victorian times and the refurbishing and the special repointing of the stone Church frontage.

The redesign and replacement of a section of the roof over the Vestry wing, which had always given leakage problems in the past but which have now been eradicated.


IMPROVEMENTS  Approximate cost £250,000 at year 2005 prices.

The tasteful and innovative provision of an extensive access ramp for those with mobility problems, which had to be sited to the front and side of the Church. This ramp and the new steps blend in so well that many people do not realise that there is a new ramp there.

The complete remodelling of the main Church entrance which transformed the original dark and difficult entrance to one full of light and welcome. The new Foyer is now in use throughout the week for varied activities, and has an ingenious built-in kitchen area which can be made completely invisible when not in use. An accessible toilet was also provided.

A completely new replacement heating system was installed and this is not only very effective but is almost invisible due to the clever arrangement of heating ducts which carry the warm air around the Church.

The building-in of some of the new heating ducts meant that an extended platform, which had been needed for a long time could be provided at the same time. This blends in very well and it is not noticeable that this is new work.

The provision of modified internal disabled access at the rear of the Church had seemed to be impossible but the problem was solved by inviting wheelchair users to look at the problems on site with the architect when a compromise solution was agreed which now works very well.

A new rear lobby was also provided to reduce draughts and conserve heat.


VWB Architects 35 West Street Congleton Cheshire CW12 1JN

Tel. 01260 272891

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