A BRADFORD church that dates back to 1870 is being converted into a mosque, councillors have confirmed.

Clayton Heights Methodist Church shut in 2020 and has been vacant since then.

Plans had been approved to turn the Chapel Lane building into three two-bed homes.

However, work was never carried out and now the church is to be renovated into a mosque due for completion early next year.

Queensbury Ward councillors say the conversion did not need planning permission because the use, a place of worship, had not changed.

Cllr Alex Mitchell (Labour) said: "Cllr Hazel Johnson and I welcome the mosque as an asset in Queensbury ward, serving our diverse community and are pleased to hear of their plans for an open day to allow residents to meet the team and have a look round."

Residents had raised concerns about the issues the mosque may cause around traffic and parking.

Councillors have been reassured during the busier times stewards will be on the site marshalling cars.

This will especially be the case on Fridays where prayers are held twice in the afternoon.
Owners of the building have said they will always have finished before the end of nearby Stocks Lane Primary School’s day.

Cllr Mitchell added: "We have been contacted by neighbouring residents who have legitimate concerns about the potential traffic build-up on Highgate Road, which we share. 

"We therefore spoke with the new owners of the building, who have committed to have stewards managing visiting cars, particularly on Fridays.

"Traffic build up and road safety is a primary concern for our residents and we are continually working to ensure our roads in Queensbury are safe."

The church had been an important part of the Clayton Heights community for almost 150 years.

In 2010, it underwent a £125,000 refurbishment, partly funded by Bradford Council.

The grants included £20,000 from Bradford Council’s ward investment fund, £5,000 from the authority’s Community Regeneration Fund and £50,000 from Waste Recycling Environmental Limited (Wren).

At the time, Church treasurer Robert Holroyd, who oversaw the building programme, said the church had retained its original character.

It was closed by the Bradford South Methodist Circuit in 2020.

As of October 2022, many of the features, including the church organ and Sunday School benches, remained in the building.

It was said that the building “may well remain derelict” if a new use was not found soon.