PLANS have been submitted to demolish a Bradford church which is more than a century old and replace it with 23 apartments.

Eccleshill Methodist Church in Norman Lane, which dates back to 1911, will hold its final service on July 10, after it was found to require substantial repairs to remain in use, including a new roof.

The plans, submitted to Bradford Council, are for 12 one-bedroom apartments and 11 two-bed apartments. The site would also include undercroft car parking for 23 vehicles and two self-contained retail units.

The church remains open but is not holding a service every Sunday, as its congregation has been visiting other churches in the Bradford North Methodist Church Circuit, which includes 17 churches in the area.

Methodist church council members voted in favour of closing Eccleshill Methodist Church and applying for outline planning permission, with Ashley France, of Shipley-based firm Batty France Consultancy, the applicant on behalf of the Bradford North Circuit.

The Reverend Nick Blundell, superintendent minister of the Bradford North Methodist Church Circuit, said it is sad to see the church go but the time was right to make that decision.

He said: "The council has been thinking about it for a couple of years.

"It is sad for everyone involved. People have been there for a long time, but people recognise it's the right decision.

"It would also cost a lot of money to put the various things wrong with the building right.

"Congregational life is coming to an end at the church."

The design and access statements, submitted as part of the outline planning application, added the church's congregation is small and other churches have opted to merge into larger congregations with better facilities and reduce running costs.

The building will become redundant after July and the church claim if it is left undeveloped it could "become a long-term nuisance site, attracting fly-tipping and vandals".

Money from any potential re-development will be re-invested into the church.

The proposal has received four letters of objection so far, including concerns over increased traffic in Norman Lane and claims there are not enough parking spaces available with the proposal.

Posting on the proposal's online application, Wendy Smith, of Mount Grove, Eccleshill, posted: "There won't be enough parking spaces for the apartments and shops, so where are the surplus cars going to be parked?

"It's a shame another historic building in Eccleshill is going to be demolished."

During the Second World War, the Victoria Road and the Wesleyans churches worked together and in 1946 became one church in the Stoney Lane premises.

But the larger premises became difficult to maintain and it was agreed to downsize and join the Primitive church on Norman Lane, which is dated 1911.

A new Sunday school was built in 1965 and the old all-purpose building was transformed into the present church in 1967.