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St Luke’s Church in Maidstone seeks to convert former vicarage into meeting rooms and offices

A church that housed Ukrainian refugees in its old vicarage is now planning to turn the building into meeting rooms and offices as its congregation grows.

St Luke’s Church in St Luke’s Road in Maidstone was built in 1895.

The Grade II-listed St Luke's Church in Maidstone
The Grade II-listed St Luke's Church in Maidstone

Designed in an Arts and Crafts style by the distinguished British architect W.Howard Seth-Smith, it was constructed by local builders, GE Wallis & Sons.

The costs were met by two prominent business families of the time - the Whatmans and the Fremlins.

The vicarage, known as St Luke’s House, was added two years later.

In 1981, it was sold off by the church and divided into bedsits.

But then in the mid-1990s, the site was bought back into church ownership by the St Luke’s Parochial Church Council which subsequently gained planning permission to retain a flat on the upper floor, while converting the ground and first floor to meeting rooms and church uses.

St Luke's House sits next to the church
St Luke's House sits next to the church

In 2022, the church reversed that decision and obtained residential permission again for the whole of the property, so that it could be used to house Ukrainian refugees.

Two years later and the situation has changed again. The church congregation has grown and refugees have moved out.

The parish now employs four staff and has numerous volunteers, and needs more space.

The vicar Gareth Dickinson said: “We have housed the family for nearly two years and I’m delighted that they have moved on to more independent living in another church property a stone’s throw from St Luke’s House.

“So the family remain very much a part of our church community.”

St Luke's House as seen from the road
St Luke's House as seen from the road

The latest proposal will see the ground and first floors of St Luke’s House once again converted to provide community meeting rooms and offices.

The second floor will remain as a private home.

There is no change proposed to the exterior of the building or to the number of parking places on the site, which remains at 12.

The church itself is a Grade II-listed property.

To see more planning applications and other public notices for your area, visit the public notice portal.

The application is yet to be decided by Maidstone council.

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