Consultation event outlines community facility plans for West Leeds church

Photo: Google

A public consultation event into the future of a West Leeds church – and plans to transform it into a community facility – has been held.

As previously reported, the Church of England is proposing to close the Church of the Venerable Bede, off Cockshott Lane and Green Lane, saying the place of worship is no longer viable.

An engagement day at the church saw church officials on hand to answer queries and point people on how to contribute to the formal consultation on the future of the building.

Attendees also met representatives of Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL), who outlined their vision of transforming the building into a community space led by young people offering activities for people of all ages in West Leeds.

The upper floor could become a conference and events space for up to 500 people, along with a smaller quiet/contemplative/meeting space for up to 15 people. The lower floor could have a ‘funky’ cafe with wifi and computer access, events space, a meeting room and creative spaces for small business development.

Longer term plans include greening the building to reduce costs and emissions and developing the events space into a local theatre/gig/cinema venue.

Although the building would be run by VAL, activities would be steered by a group of residents called the Venerable Bede Development Group to ensure the activities provided are ones wanted by the community.

Posting on Facebook, Cllr Lou Cunningham (Lab, Armley) said:

“It was good to see that lots of people had taken part in the community engagement at the Venerable Bede church.”

VAL is a charity that supports communities by helping people and organisations that do good in Leeds.

A consultation document says Venerable Bede was part of the review of inner West Leeds parishes conducted with clergy and lay readers from July 2018 to July 2019. The incumbent clergy had originally raised serious doubts about the viability of the church and the parish in 2016, and the review concluded that his doubts were justified. 

The report adds that the former Diocesan Buildings for Mission Officer has worked closely with the parish and community on the nearby Wyther Park estate with a view to the church becoming a community hub. 

“This is seen as the only community facility for the Wyther estate, and there are signs of growing community use which will give a sustainable future to the building,” the report concludes.

People can have their say on the proposed closure here.

The proposals could see the church close next year.


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