St Mary’s, Richmond Hill, Leeds
Application to demolish a prominent catholic church in Leeds:
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.
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.