Reading’s Historical Greyfriar’s Church Receives Planning Permission for a New West End Extension


Greyfriar’s Anglican Church on Friar Street in Reading, Berkshire has now been granted planning permission to replace the outdated semi-circular extension with a new glazed foyer and substantial link extension. The Diocese has also granted approval.

The Grade I listed church was built in 1311 and is now the oldest Franciscan building still used for worship in the UK. Historic England have described it as, “the most complete surviving example of Franciscan architecture in England”.

Phase 1, a new larger foyer and related facilities, will be a glass fronted structure to allow light and space into the foyer. It will connect into the church through a new glazed doorway cut through the medieval west wall, below the magnificent west window, which will be seen through a special wide glass panel in the roof.

The new foyer has been designed to be much more welcoming, open and modern to match the warm and inviting message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Come unto me”

Adding to this beautiful historic building has been under consideration for many years. The real breakthrough occurred when two adjacent properties became available, which provided essential additional space for the foyer, coffee shop, and toilets to support the thriving congregation of this busy church.

For those contemplating additions to listed churches, It should be noted that it can take months, even years to negotiate the proposals with the Planning and Conservation Officers, and the key player in this process, Historic England. It is the reason for much celebration that approvals have been give. The construction will commence in 2020.

On the back of this work is underway preparing a planning application for Phase 2, the replacement of the existing church centre, which at present far too small. The new building will greatly benefit local residents as it will be used by community groups, schools and clubs in Reading. It will be linked to the new foyer, by a wide connecting building, so that anyone, especially children’s groups can move safely between the two buildings.

Greyfriar’s expansion will continue the legacy set by the Franciscans of informing people about Jesus and serving the local population, which continues to be the aim of the Greyfriar’s church today.

For more information on planning and architecture designs for Grade I listed buildings, or if you would like to learn more about the Greyfriar’s Church project, please send us an email.