A NEW church which has risen out of the ashes of a historic fire-ravaged landmark is open for business – and it’s more than just a place of worship.

It has taken over a year to build the Weymouth Bay Methodist Church in a project worth £2.5million.

The church, which stands on the site of the old Christian Science building in Melcombe Avenue, is equipped with new technology and can seat 240 people making it a new community resource.

The building – with its moveable stage, state-of-the-art PA system, computerised projector, kitchen and coffee shop – is now available to hire.

“We’re absolutely delighted with it,” said the Rev David Plumb.

He added: “It’s taken 15 months and cost £2.5million. It has certainly been worth the wait.”

The completion of the building is the end of a long journey for local Methodists.

They searched for a new home to replace Maiden Street Methodist Church in the town centre which was gutted by a mysterious fire in January 2002.

Developers who bought the shell are waiting until the economic climate improves before they press ahead with a plan to build a restaurant and flats.

People that worshipped there shared St Nicholas Church in Buxton Road with local Anglicans before joining Methodists in their building in Newstead Road at Westham.

The two groups have now moved to the new building in Melcombe Avenue where a service is held every Sunday at 10.30am and coffee mornings are organised Monday to Thursday.

It is not yet clear what will happen to Westham Methodist Church.

Mr Plumb said: “Weymouth Bay Methodist Church has been built to a magnificently high standard by Acheson Construction.

“Modern architecture and a truly well thought-out design with a flexible purpose in mind has produced a dream church.

“It is a welcoming building with everything needed to continue the mission and message in Weymouth in a way which is relevant to the needs of people in the 21st century.”

Mr Plumb explained the main worship area includes an electronic dais.

He added: “We envisage this to be a multi-use building. As well as our church it can be used as a performance and exhibition space as well as a meeting place for local groups.”

People will have a chance to see what the church has to offer at an opening weekend on Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5. The church is open 10am-5pm on Saturday and 2pm-5pm on Sunday.


FIRE took hold of one of Weymouth’s most recognised town centre landmarks in January, 2002.

Sadly, Maiden Street Methodist Church was left as a burned-out shell following the blaze, the cause of which has never been determined.

It was built in 1867 costing £3,500 and received a £160,000 facelift only two-and-a-half years before the fire. There was much discussion with what to do with the church – which at one point became a home for squatters – and its status as an ageing wreck was confirmed when it was added English Heritage’s register of ‘buildings at risk’.

Methodists decided that revamping it would be too costly and instead focused on looking for a new site.

The damaged church was bought by development company Project 20 which obtained planning permission in 2007 to build a 3,000 sq ft restaurant on the ground floor plus 15 residential units.

Malcolm Curtis of Project 20 said that it was still the company’s intention to develop the site but in the current economic climate the project was on hold for the moment. He added: “There’s a great deal of interest in the restaurant.”

“The economy has been in meltdown but we feeling it’s turning a corner and starting to improve. We are keen to get on with it but the fact is the economy is driven by pound notes and there’s not many of them about.”