PICTURES: Inside dilapidated Sheffield chapel which could be converted into homes
This stunning Grade II-listed chapel in Sheffield could be converted into flats, if newly lodged plans get the go-ahead.
The former Ebenezer Methodist Chapel is a historic landmark in Walkley which developers seeking to turn it into eight apartments claim could be lost forever if repairs are not carried out soon.
The imposing two-storey sandstone building on the corner of South Road and Greenhow Street opened in 1890, with the Wesleyan chapel seating 570 people.
It was converted into student digs in the 1990s and has changed hands several times since then. It is currently vacant, having recently been sold at auction.
Tordoff Holmes has applied to create eight apartments, with a mixture of one and two bedrooms, within the building.
It claims the conversion would help fund much-needed repairs to the building, where windows are broken, the roof is leaking and birds have set up roost.
"The proposed change to of use to residential apartments from student accommodation makes the best use of the chapel's tall spaces and is the best hope for a building that has been unused for several years and is in danger of falling into irreversible disrepair," says a planning statement submitted by Studio Gedye for the developer.
The conversion would mean the loss of the gallery, the pulpit and the organ, which a heritage statement prepared for the developer concludes would have a 'moderate to large' impact on the building's significance.
But the application claims the building's significance has already been 'compromised' by the poor quality conversion to student accommodation.
And the developer says many historic elements like the front lobby, front staircases and all the significant exterior features would be retained.
Historic England has expressed its disappointment at the proposed removal of the organ but accepts 'harmful development may sometimes be justified' to bring buildings back into use, provided that harm is minimised.
The planning application concludes: "After a period of long-term vacancy, this presents an opportunity to secure the sustainable residential re-use of the former Ebenezer Methodist Chapel, a prominent landmark in Walkley and a building with high significance in the history of the area.
"The building needs redevelopment to ensure its future and receive long term maintenance and care. In our experience working with other listed buildings in the city, opportunities for grants for buildings such as these do not exist."