A gothic revival-style church empty for eight years looks set to become a Turkish baths and beauty spa – the first of its kind in Bradford.

Sharat Hussain hopes to start work on the conversion on Mary Magdalene’s Church in Wood Street, Manningham, as soon as he gets listed building consent.

Mr Hussain, 36, who lives in the area, said the grade II-listed building was a gem on his own doorstep and perfect for his first business venture.

He said he hopes it will help ease stresses and strains on Bradford’s economy by creating new jobs, especially for the younger generation by taking on a number of apprentices.

The plan already has planning approval but he has had to refine some of the proposals to keep historians happy, which includes putting some of the paintings in the church behind protective perspex.

Timbers will also be recycled and he vowed to work round some features in the church rather than “knock them out”.

He added: “It’s a gem of a building. We want to preserve as much of it as we can because it will add to the character and atmosphere. I’d been looking for the right place for a long time when my agents told me about this place. It has been a long drawn out process but it will be worth it in the end.”

The plans will see a hammam-style baths based on the traditional steam and sauna room then the plunge pool, there will also be massage therapy and a beauty spa.

Mr Hussain added: “I’m hoping that not only will it become a big attraction for people living and working in Bradford but that it will attract visitors to the city as well.”

The church was built around 1876 and, because it had no rights of light over the surrounding properties, had no windows put in at ground level.