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Resurrection of Space: Historic Church to be Transformed into Three Elegant Flats

Woolwich, London – In an exciting development project, Buildvantage has acquired the Church of St Michael and All Angels, located at the former Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, with the intention of converting it into three residential apartments. The church, which has remained unused for the past 12 years, will now undergo a transformation that will not only preserve its heritage significance but also bring it back to life.

The Church of St Michael and All Angels holds a rich historical background. Its construction was initiated in 1901 after efforts by the Governor and Commandment of the Academy secured sufficient funds. Designed by Major-General N.H. Hemming, the church features red brick Perpendicular Gothic architecture and was completed in 1904. Over the years, the church served as the main garrison church and played a vital role in the local community.

Since the closure of the Royal Military Academy in 2003, the site has been subject to various redevelopment plans. Durkan Estates acquired the property in 2006, envisioning a housing development comprising over 300 units. The masterplan for the Royal Military Academy’s redevelopment, designed by John McAslan & Partners, received planning permission in 2007. As construction progressed, the Church of St Michael and All Angels remained untouched, alongside the Dining Hall.

In 2009, the church was granted full planning permission and listed building consent for use as artists’ studios and a gallery. The approved plans included a mezzanine floor occupying most of the nave and a central spiral stair in the transept. Additionally, proposals were made to convert the Great Hall into a community space, allocate ground floor commercial spaces for a gym and convenience store, and designate another space for the concierge and cricket team changing facilities.

In a more recent development, in 2015, the church obtained full planning permission and listed building consent for use as a community facility, incorporating a multi-use space, gym, and concierge services. The permission also included the construction of a mezzanine floor. However, the current plans aim to convert the Dining Hall, an older and more sensitive building in terms of heritage, into a community facility instead. This decision leaves the Church of St Michael and All Angels without a viable authorized use.

Recognizing the deteriorating state of the church and the need for its preservation through practical utilization, Buildvantage acquired the property in June 2023 from Durkan Estates, who held the necessary planning permissions. Buildvantage have a remarkable history of converting England’s old nuclear bunker in Mistley into 16 houses and 15 flats. The nuclear bunker was originally created in 1951 to defend citizens from a third world war. The Former Nurses Home in Margate is another Buildvantage project that took the time to carefully consider the value of the adjacent listed building Margate’s Sea Bathing Hospital. The conversion of Church into residential apartments aligns with successful examples seen in recent years where churches have been sensitively transformed into unique and historically significant living spaces while preserving the original character and fabric of the buildings.

With renewed planning permission granted in 2018, 2022, Buildvantage is poised to breathe new life into the Church of St Michael and All Angels, allowing it to play a central role in the community once again.  The conversion will not only secure the church’s future but also contribute to the overall viability and success of the redevelopment project. Residents of the newly created residential apartments will have the privilege of living in a space that carries both historical charm and contemporary comfort.

As construction progresses, the Church of St Michael and All Angels is set to enter a new phase, symbolizing the harmonious blend of heritage and modernity within the Woolwich community.

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