A historic but unloved building in Ripon, the grade II listed former Methodist chapel on Coltsgate Hill, close to the Marketgate retail development and the Curzon cinema, has been put up for sale, with a price tag of £500,000.
Currently owned by the local Knoll Charitable Trust, the site was home to an earlier chapel where Methodist movement founder, John Wesley, preached in 1780. The present two-storey building cost £2,000 to construct and was opened in October 1861. Church services came to an end in 1963 when the chapel was merged with nearby Allhallowgate Methodist Church.
In the intervening years the chapel has been put to a variety of uses, including as the site of Ripon’s first supermarket, U-Save, in the 1960s. It was also used as a hi-fi retailer in the 1970s and is currently part-used as offices by accountancy firm Eura Audit.
Barrie Price, a former mayor of Ripon, who chairs the Knoll Charitable Trust and bought the chapel in 1986 in the hope that it would become a community or arts centre, said: With the upkeep of the building becoming more and more of a burden we are hoping that a prospective buyer will be able to regenerate the old chapel to create something that will be a really positive addition for the city.
Ripon is becoming an increasingly prosperous and attractive place with some fantastic shops, restaurants and a cinema, and it would be great to see the old building get a new lease of life as quality residential accommodation or maybe even a bar or restaurant – I’m sure there are lots of possibilities.
Toby Cockcroft of Croft Residential, the York-based agency that is marketing the chapel, said: The old chapel is a gem of a building that could become something really special in the hands of a creative developer. It’s in a great location in a city which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
Toby added: As it is something of an icon in Ripon we have had a great deal of interest already in the chapel and potential buyers have been putting forward some very imaginative ideas for its redevelopment. It will be interesting to see which one eventually comes to fruition.
A preliminary planning application has been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council for conversion of the chapel to residential use.