THE presence of a graveyard and a loss of trees were among the reasons plans to demolish a church and replace it with a new community centre and flats were refused.

Plans to knock down the “dilapidated” Allerton Methodist Chapel and build a replacement community hall and block of eight flats were first revealed in 2022.

Proposals for the Greenbank Road site would also include a remembrance garden and parking area.

The initial application – by the Managing Trustees of Allerton Methodist Church, was withdrawn early last year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Allerton Methodist ChapelAllerton Methodist Chapel (Image: newsquest)

A second application was submitted in the Autumn, but late last year this application was refused by planning officers, with the presence of the graveyard on site raising concerns.

A Methodist chapel has been based on the site since the 1830s.

The applications said the existing stone church is reaching the end of its life, describing the chapel as “dilapidated” and suffering from dry rot.

The new community hall would host church services, activities for young people, a community café and food bank collection point.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An artist's impression of the planned community hallAn artist's impression of the planned community hall (Image: Managing Trustees of Allerton Methodist Church)

The application said: “The scheme has been designed around the existing graveyard so that this is retained.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A grave at the site of the Methodist chapelA grave at the site of the Methodist chapel (Image: newsquest)

“The new community hall will provide a safe building which is fit for purpose and will provide sufficient space to provide for the growing population and community requirements. The aim is to provide a facility which is welcoming for all.

“There are no other community halls in the immediate area which covers the lower area of Allerton and from consultations is has been shown there is a strong desire to maintain the community facility on the same site but to create a modern facility which can cater for the increasing population and modern requirements.”

But planners at Bradford Council have refused this second application.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Allerton Methodist ChapelAllerton Methodist Chapel (Image: newsquest)

Due to a section of the site being a graveyard, planning officers said they “do not have confidence that the development would not have any significant impact on the local environment or to the health of end users of the development.”

They said an environmental report into the land would be needed before they could support the application.

They also expressed concern that the development could harm protected trees on the site.

And planners pointed out that a survey to see if there were any bat roosts in the church was carried out in 2020, adding: “Given the length of time that has passed since the surveys were carried out and the building is a dilapidated church, it is possible that bats may now roost within the building.”