Historic Farnley Hill Methodist Church could be transformed into home

21 January 2019

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A Listed former church in Farnley could be transformed into a four-bedroom home, if plans are approved.

Proposals for the empty and vandalised Farnley Hill Methodist Church on Stonebridge Lane include the removal of an organ dating back to the 1890s, along with some ground floor pews to provide a usable practical space.

Along with building a new mezzanine floor to create bedrooms, the design proposes to retain key features.

It will maintain the balcony’s original raked Georgian pews and the pulpit’s communion rail will form the basis of a home cinema and gym. New windows and garden access doors would be fitted to the gable.

The neglected Grade II Listed building, on Stonebridge Lane, dates back to 1828 and has been disused since the late 1990s.

A planning and heritage statement submitted with the application by Stack Architects says commercial agents, religious orders and community groups have been approached over the past five years, but no practical use of the building had been found. It adds:

“My client’s conclusion is that conversion to residential would be the most practical solution, however given the key listed features requiring retention a single dwelling offers the best design solution.

“The building’s structure is basically sound but with the church being vacant [it] is in a deteriorating condition with some roof leaks, rotting windows and continuous vandalism being the main problems.”

The proposals have been submitted by A Mahmood of Fawcett Lane and can be read in full – and commented upon – here.

Previous application

A planning application requesting the removal of pews and the organ were refused by Leeds City Council in 2016 following objections, including watchdog group Leeds Civic Trust.

At the time, the council refused on the grounds of ‘harm to the special interest and character of a heritage asset’. A planning officer’s report concluded at the time: “This is not offset or justified by the re-use of the building, since the development is speculative and no end user has been secured.”

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