The Upper Dales Community Land Trust has confirmed its plans to turn Bainbridge Methodist Chapel, which has been empty since 2019 following the discovery of asbestos, into two apartments for local people unable to buy or rent in the area. The tenants will be required to work in the remote Upper Dales.
The UDCLT formed in 2017 and is run by volunteers concerned about the housing crisis in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Chairman Stephen Stubbs said: “Whilst the chapel will only provide two new homes for local people, it is a start and we have other possibilities in the pipeline too. We are very grateful to
Richmondshire Council for supporting us with funds, and to the Methodist Circuit for allowing us to buy the chapel. We recognise that the hard work is just starting.”
The council provided £340,000 in grant funding to allow the purchase of the building to go ahead.
Superintendent of the North Yorkshire Dales Methodist Circuit the Reverend Melanie Reed added: “The Circuit trustees are absolutely thrilled that the chapel has been purchased by the trustees of the Upper Dales Community Land Trust and wish them every success as they work towards converting the property into affordable housing, ensuring that the chapel building remains an important part of the local community.”
In 2020, Trust volunteers were left disappointed when their bid to buy the former Arkengarthdale C of E Primary School for a similar project was unsuccessful. The parochial church council were bound by legal covenants to instead sell it to the highest bidder, a couple who moved from Snowdonia to open an outdoor pursuits and yoga centre in the building after buying it for £185,000 - an amount the charity could not match.
The group hope to have the properties ready for occupation in 2023. Anyone wishing to apply for a tenancy or who would like to become involved with the charity should email [email protected]