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19th-century Worsley Methodist Church to be turned into flats

A former Methodist Church on Barton Road in Worsley is to be converted into four apartments after plans were passed by Salford City Council.

The now vacant church, which closed in 2011, was put on the market by the Methodist Church for around £400,000 after falling congregations and declining attendances forced the sale.

It’s understood the Church searched for a suitable buyer for a considerable time before deciding that, due to its residential location parallel to the Bridgewater Canal, housing would be the best option for preserving its future.

“The continued use as a community facility was considered,” say planning documents, “however Worsley is well provided for with Worsley Courthouse, St Mark’s Church Community Hall and Worsley Road United Reformed Church, providing modern well-maintained facilities.

“Health care use was also considered,however the NHS drive to provide new purpose built buildings, allied to the lack of parking, resulted in no demand for the premises.”

The 214-year-old building will be partially demolished, a new first floor level built in the former chapel and four apartments for private sale added in its place.

Worsley Methodist Church in 1889

Worsley Methodist Church in 1889

The single storey school room, together with a small building to the rear of the chapel will be demolished to make way for four car parking spaces.

The local Methodist congregation originally met in the now-demolished corn mill near Worsley Delph until the chapel on Barton Road was built in 1801.

The building itself is not grade listed, but is on Salford City Council’s Local List of Heritage Assets, which “reflects that over the…years since it was constructed the church has played an important role within the burgeoning and developing community of Worsley.”

The church interior with pipe organ

The interior with pipe organ

The chapel interior is thought to date from an 1878 extension and refurbishment, and contains many interesting architectural oddities, including a pipe organ which could date back as far as 1830.

The plans, passed by Salford City Council this week, show two two-bedroom apartments on the ground floor and two three-bed apartments at first floor level.

Swinton-based chartered architects RA Fisk, who also dealt with the conversion of Agecroft Cemetery Lodge, advised on the application.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.