Former Sunday School, Birr Road, Bradford

Demolition of a stunning listed ecclesiastical building:

Another shocking application to denude Bradford of her history. This is the former Sunday school to the rear of Most Holy Trinity & Our Lady of Pochaiv Church in Manningham, and it is a stunning building, which cumulatively with the church forms an almost abbey size Catholic campus in the city.

The plan is to knock it down and get ten houses in there. Needless to say the housing crisis will be cited by the applicant as justification, when the building could clearly accommodate that many flats, with much lower carbon expenditure required.

A YouTube video here does a brilliant walk-around of the building. The structure appears to be sound. Granted, the windows are boarded up and someone has tagged the shutters, but the masonry looks as fresh as the day it was built. The roof also appears to be in order, particularly for a building that hasn’t been in full use for ten years. Then again, churches are built to last. I mean really last – beyond the market forces and council housing strategies of the moment.

There is no reason to demolish this building other than the fact that it would make more money as developable land. But when a building is listed, and in a conservation area, and immediately adjacent the setting of a church, and is consecrated ground (I could go on…) the economic imperative is second to its heritage significance.

How annoying that the Council is being emotionally blackmailed by the notion of enabling development that would subsidise the main church building. I need only mention that the Catholic Church is rolling in it, and doesn’t need subsidising at the expense of a crime against heritage.

I’m also saddened to see the Ukrainian Church supportive of the proposal. I mean no disrespect, but the congregation should not have the final say as putative owners. It may be their church now, but it wasn’t always. This was built for the people of Yorkshire long before and it remains our history.

Here the Sunday School is shown next to the chapel, known then as St Johns. Map from circa 1900.

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