Archive | June 2021

Salem Chapel, Bradford

Application to demolish a church and build an industrial unit:

Above: The Victorian Chapel that has been used as a community centre until 2018.
Below: The grey mass that would replace it

An important church in Bradford is facing demolition to make way for an industrial unit. A few people are to blame for the chain of events that have led to this.

The building is robust, and having been in use until 2018 is clearly a viable property for repurposing. The fact that an application to change the building into retail use went in recently is testament to this. Unfortunately the council refused this application as the area is not designated for retail use in the local plan. They call this zoning and is anathema to British planning.

This would have resulted in the building being retained in perpetuity, but alas Braford Council have put the future of this church in jeopardy. And that is the argument the owner is using to justify its destruction. That refusal means the building cant be sold to a potential retail business.

The comments in ‘support’ of the development concern me. ‘Neighbours’ welcoming the removal of this eyesore (really? a historic Victorian church I an eyesore?), and suggesting this single industrial unit will usher in an industrial renaissance for the city. Lets be honest, these are the developer’s mates. I hope the case officer sees through this ruse.

Salem Chapels were built by independent congregations in various Northern industrial cities and are a fundamental component of Victorian civic development. The equivalent in Leeds in grade II listed. The Leeds chapel dates from 1791. If this chapel is of a similar age, its loss would be criminal.

Maps from circa 1888 show the church in place, but it is likely to long pre-date this.