Farnley Hill Methodist Church home plan withdrawn

1 April 2019

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Plans to turn a Listed former church in Farnley into a four-bedroom home have been withdrawn by developers.

Proposals for the vandalised Farnley Hill Methodist Church on Stonebridge Lane included 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 proposed to retain key features.

Developer A Mahmood, of Fawcett Lane, said it would 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.

But Leeds City Council’s conservation team branded the proposals ‘harmful’ to the Grade II Listed building. Objecting to the proposals, they said:

“The proposed conversion is harmful to the listed building. This is the result of the subdivision of the ground floor under the gallery and the consequent removal of pews and the insertion of a new floor which would probably require the removal of alteration of the roof structure.”

The neglected building, on Stonebridge Lane, dates back to 1828 and the developer said it 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.

The proposals have been submitted by A Mahmood of Fawcett Lane, Wortley, and can be read in full 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’.

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