Former chapel to be converted into affordable homes for locals

UDCLT chair and founder Stephen Stubbs with trustee Julie Fox outside the chapel.

The former Bainbridge Methodist Chapel is to be renovated and converted into two affordable apartments for locals.

The Upper Dales Community Land Trust (UDCLT) which has bought the property says the homes will be let specifically to local people living and working in the Upper Dales.

Following the discovery and removal of asbestos in 2019, the chapel has been empty awaiting sale to the UDCLT, a group run by local volunteers.

The trust was formed in 2017 in response to the growing issue of local people being unable to afford to buy or rent properties locally.

Stephen Stubbs, chair of the Trust 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 District 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.”

District council leader, Councillor Angie Dale, said that providing affordable housing in the rural Upper Dales is a key priority for the authority.

“We are pleased to see this project taking off – we have already provided funding in excess of £340,000 and look forward to working with the trust as the site develops.”

Reverend Melanie Reed, superintendent of the North Yorkshire Dales Methodist Circuit, said “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.”

County Councillor Yvonne Peacock added, “I have a long personal history with the chapel and am so glad that it will be retained for local people.”

The group hope to have the properties ready for occupation in 2023.

Anyone wanting more information or interested in supporting the UDCLT should email UDCLTrust@gmail.com or visit www.udclt.co.uk