Work starts on affordable homes chapel conversion

Work has started on the transformation of the former Bainbridge Methodist Chapel into two affordable two-bedroom flats.

Prime Minister and Richmond MP Rishi Sunak visited for the ground-breaking ceremony last week.

The Upper Dales Community Land Trust (UDCLT), which aims to provide affordable housing for local people living and working in the remote Upper Dales, purchased the chapel in November 2021.

Stephen Stubbs, the UDCLT’s chair and founder, said: “We are very pleased to have now formalised our partnership with North Star (a North-East based housing association) who have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to bring us all to this juncture.

“They will manage the build project on a day-to-day basis and will also look after the running of the affordable housing units when they are ready for tenants.”

Emma Speight, executive director of assets and growth at North Star, is delighted that her organisation is now officially partnered with the UDCLT and the ground work of creating the two affordable housing units can get going.

“One of North Star’s strengths is being able to work in partnerships to develop smaller and bespoke affordable housing.

“Being able to do this in a such a fantastic rural location, where there is a great demand for affordable rented homes is really rewarding and exciting. It’s taken a lot of hard work and commitment from all concerned to get to this stage and I’m looking forward to seeing the building being brought back to life.”

Finding a suitable building firm to take on the former Chapel conversion was the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place, says Stephen.

“It’s great news for us to have signed up Richmond-based Randall Orchard Construction Ltd to carry out the works and they have now started on site.

“Getting a major property conversion project off the ground in the remote Upper Dales is not without its challenges so having Randall Orchard on side to work on our first major affordable housing project is excellent news.”

Graeme Newton, managing director at Randall Orchard agreed.

“I am personally delighted to be commencing works on the Old Chapel in Bainbridge knowing these projects can take a long time coming to fruition.

“We will hope to produce a lovely sympathetic conversion to provide much needed affordable housing in Wensleydale and at the same time make use of such a landmark building in the village.

“All the team at Randall Orchards will endeavour to cause as little disruption as possible on this compact site.”

Funding for this project has been provided by the UDCLT from grants from the former Richmondshire District Council, North Star Housing Group and Homes England, the Government’s housing and regeneration agency.

Mr Sunak said: “The chapel is an important part of Bainbridge’s history and it is wonderful that a new use has been found for the building – a use that will help to provide much-needed affordable accommodation in the heart of the community.”

The UDCLT says it has a number of future affordable housing projects in the pipeline.

Anyone wanting more information or interested in supporting the UDCLT should email or visit


  1. Fantastic news! The Dales need affordable housing especially for young people and this is a super use of a historic building. I wish this project every success and hope it leads to more housing becoming available. More homes means more residents in the Dales so businesses can also thrive.

    • Hi Mavis,

      Thank you for this positive acknowledgement of our work locally. That’s great!

      Please do visit our website and if you wish, sign up as a supporter so you can hear about progress etc. Don’t worry we won’t inundate you with emails and nor do we sell your details to anyone else but it is good for us to have supporters on there.

      Thanks again for taking the trouble to comment.

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