Archive | August 2020

Shade Chapel, Todmorden

Application to demolition a Wesleyan Church in Calderdale:

Shade church

Sadly, this building resides on top of a culverted river, which during a storm in February partially collapsed.

The threat of further collapse and the flood hazard this would create has necessitated the demolition of the church.

The building was very tastefully converted into residential use and was a paragon of heritage renewal which makes this even more of a pity.


St Mary’s, Richmond Hill, Leeds

Application to demolish a prominent catholic church in Leeds:


St Marys proposed

An application to demolish half of this Catholic church and the neighbouring presbytery has been made, following a long dialogue with Leeds City Council to solve the problem of this abandoned building.

The building is prominent and is the highest point of the built landscape on Richmond Hill, being visible from many gateways into the city. LVIAs have noted this, which has informed the design that looks to emulate the massing of the original nave.

However, in my own opinion, the retention of the north-facing elevation shown in the above image is imperative when even considering these proposals as acceptable.

The Presbytery is also a stunning Victorian building which will be lamentably lost and replaced with a cuboid of an architectural language that is already beginning to look dated. If only an urban designer were involved with this project, the use of the heritage and geographic assets of this location would have been much more sensitive.DSC_2235

Then there is the interior, which is a stunningly vaulted space, tantamount to a medieval abbey.

The tragedy of all this is that within a mile of this old church are around 10 new immigrant congregations, filling former warehouses each week on the verges of strategic highways. If only they could occupy this space instead.

The Fountain Inn, Ingbirchworth, Barnsley

Application to demolish a rural pub and build out 13 detached dwellings:

Fountain Inn

Ingbirchworth has doubled in size since the turn of the century. This is a questionable aspect of Barnsley Council’s growth strategy as Inbirchworth has no shop, no amenities, no train, and is 10 miles from a sizeable employment centre.

Dubious spatial planning aside, it also seems odd to grow a village and create demand for a pub, only to see it demolished. I know this pub very well, and it thrives. There is no question of its viability. It serves as the conclusion to a number of hiking routes, and the accommodation is almost always at capacity.

Without any doubt, this is a landowner wanting to simplify their liabilities and cash in on the high values of rural development rather than keep a pub on the books. The developer, Conroy Brook, has a history of heritage destruction in this part of  Yorkshire, so any integration of the pub into the development would complicate their profit forecasting.

I’d guess around 10 jobs would be sacrificed with the loss of this business, along with various contracts with local businesses. Allowing this last public amenity in Ingbirchorth to be leveled is indefensible. A cluster of houses does not a village make.