A HUGE new church built in Huddersfield has been largely funded by a major bank loan.
The revelation comes as Cathedral House gears up for its official opening this weekend.
Barclays Commercial Bank has provided the £9m loan facility which enabled Huddersfield Christian Fellowship to move into its purpose-built premises, Cathedral House, at St Thomas’ Road, Folly Hall.
The £14m building, reputedly the largest new church to be built in Britain for more than 20 years, includes a 2,100-seater main auditorium, a bookshop, a cafe, indoor and outdoor play gyms, teaching rooms, conference facilities for hire, on-site parking and a state-of-the-art sound system.
It replaces the Fellowship’s previous premises, Harvest House, at St John’s Road which had become too cramped.
Church spokesman Andrew Kisumba said: “The new premises are awesome and we are already seeing an increase in the number of visitors using our facilities and attending services.
“The funding from Barclays has enabled us to complete the second phase of our project – and we really appreciate the support and advice they have provided for our expansion.
“In addition, Barclays have also generously agreed a £2,000 donation towards the children’s play area.”
Nick Russell, relationship manager with Barclays Commercial in West Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to support Huddersfield Christian Fellowship with this transaction – which demonstrates Barclays are open for business and committed to the West Yorkshire market.
“The new premises are extremely impressive and we look forward to continue working with the management team to meet their expansion goals and put the premises to good use for the local community.”
The launch of the new premises will be officially celebrated this weekend.
X-Factor star Rhydian Roberts and the London Community Gospel Choir will take part a special concert at 7.30pm on Sunday to mark the opening of Cathedral House.
Barclays Commercial Bank provides banking services to 81,000 larger and medium-sized businesses with turnover between £1m and £1bn.
Huddersfield Christian Fellowship has a growing congregation comprising people from a wide variety of social, cultural and religious backgrounds.
Pastor Colin Cooper said Sunday services typically attracted 700 to 800 worshippers from 24 different nationalities.
But he stressed that the facilities were open to everyone in the town and were intended as “a haven” for people where friendships and social ties could be strengthened.
He said: “We love Huddersfield. It’s a great place, and we want this to be a building for everyone in the town. We don’t want this to be an exclusive building.”
Mark Sidding, executive architect for the development, said: “This will be an enthralling, state-of-the-art facility, designed to house the church and benefit the wider community.
“We are informed that it is the largest purpose-built church facility in this country since Guildford Cathedral in the 1930s.”