Catholic church abandoned since 1989 could become flats

An abandoned Catholic church in Leeds could be turned into 175 modern apartments if a planning application is approved.

Mount St Mary's Church
Mount St Mary's Church

The Grade II*-listed Mount St Mary’s Church and its adjoining buildings are located off Church Street in Richmond Hill.

The church closed in 1989 and developers say the building is becoming increasingly derelict as they put forward a plan to transform the site.

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It was built in the 1850s for Irish migrants who had come to Leeds to escape the potato famine and settled in the Richmond Hill area.

However, a slum clearance programme saw many of the Irish families moved to new housing in Osmondthorpe and the parish halved in size. After World War Two, it had gone from 6,000 people to 1,100, and by 1979 only 790 people were living nearby.

The large church is hidden behind office buildings on Ellerby Road and is in a 'dilapidated' state, with broken windows, climbing shrubbery and a rain-damaged roof.

Scaffolding has been erected inside the church to support the crumbling building.

Under the plans submitted to Leeds City Council, developers want to create 175 modern apartments on the church site.

The main body of the church and the alter areas will be restored to contain 62 apartments, built inside the existing church.

The presbytery, nave, church aisles will be demolished and replaced with a five-storey block with 113 apartments.

In total there will be 83 one-bedroom apartments, 82 two-bedroom apartments and 10 three-bedroom apartments.

New parking areas, cycle storage and landscaping works are also proposed.

The planning application has been submitted by Brewster Bye Architects on behalf of developers Estate Aid Limited and MSM (Leeds) Limited.

An artist's impression of the new build shows the old brickwork of the church restored and merged with the modern new block.

The application for full planning permission and listed buildings works is being considered by Leeds Council.

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