Concerns have been raised about the future of a prominent building in Hawes after the former church was put up for sale with an asking price that is more than double what it went for a year ago.
Hawes Methodist Church was sold off by the church around 12 months ago for, it is understood, around £70,000.
The building has recently been put back on the market by the purchaser for £175,000.
This story continues after the adverts:
The move has prompted claims in Hawes that the new owners are attempting to make a “fast buck” from the property.
Andrew Fagg, local preacher on North Yorkshire Dales Methodist circuit and Hawes resident, has urged the owners to reconsider the sale price.
He believes the price is unrealistic and risks a prominent Hawes building remaining unused.
In a letter to the owner’s agents, Leeds-based Rawstron Johnson, he described the asking price as “ridiculous”, adding: “What makes you think that you can make a fast buck to the tune of £100,000, without having added any value to the building or there being any change in circumstances?
“It might be possible in Leeds or London, but not in Hawes.”
Andrew, whose family has had a long association with the church, said the building was sold cheaply so that it could have a new life.
He added: “By setting a totally unrealistic price, you are condemning a large building in the heart of Hawes to remain empty and unused. That is self-evidently bad for the town.
“But it also does a disservice to the building’s history. Hawes Methodist Chapel was dearly loved for many generations.
“Please could you consider – for the good of Hawes and the building’s past – trying to sell it for what you bought it for?
“I will have to eat my hat if someone does come forward with £175k, but I think the chances of that happening are beyond slim.”
In response, David Rawstron, from Rawstron Johnson, said the building was bought by a private individual who intended to use the rear part of the property as a holiday home and lease out the front section for commercial purposes.
He said, however, that due to a change in circumstances the owners had reluctantly decided to sell the property.
Mr Rawstron said the sale price was recommended by local agents, JR Hopper.
“They are the local experts and my clients have taken their advice, which they are perfectly at liberty to do.
“If it proves incorrect and the property doesn’t sell then naturally they will consider reducing the price accordingly.”
Mr Rawstron added: “At no point was it the intention of the owners to ‘make a fast buck’ and until the property is sold, and all fees and charges and interest have been paid, it is unlikely that my client will see any ‘true profit’ out of this venture.
“They are as keen as you are to see this property put to use in an attractive and sensitive manner and are only sorry that due to an unexpected illness in the family they now feel unable to realise this wish themselves.”