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Tower plan for Friends Meeting House in Friargate
A BASE for meetings in the centre of York could be in line for a revamp.
Plans have been drawn up to refurbish the Friends Meeting House, in Friargate – a place of worship used by Quakers – and improve disabled access by adding a new two-storey tower including a lift, stairs and meeting rooms.
The proposals, which have been submitted to City of York Council , also include a first-floor extension over the building’s existing library and Penn Room and carrying out a facelift in its Woolman Room. Planners are expected to make a decision on the scheme next month.
The original building – on the site of a medieval friary – dates back to the 19th Century, but much of it was later demolished during a “remodelling” exercise and only its large meeting room and basement area survive from when it was built.
It is available for hire by the public, and a planning statement sent to the council by architects PPIY Limited said the aim was now to expand and improve its facilities and make it easier for people to use its room by developing space at the back of the “confined” site.
The firm said the new additions to the meeting house would be on the same height and scale of the current building, which lies within the city-centre conservation area, and would be “sympathetic” to its appearance.
The tower, designed to improve access for people in wheelchairs who attend meetings, would be built on the south side of the site, which does not currently have any lifts.
Quakers’ meetings at Friargate regularly attract more than 100 people, making them among the largest in the area, and the meeting house also stages a string of other activities during the week such as events by literature and community groups.
The improvement scheme planned for the site also includes new toilet facilities.
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