Landmark church in Wolverhampton to be redeveloped
A century-old church in Wolverhampton is to be redeveloped – and parts of it could be turned into a restaurant, shops or housing.
The 118-year-old Darlington Street Methodist Church has appointed national property consultancy Bruton Knowles to find a joint venture partner to take on part of the landmark building.
The church has long been a prominent part of the city centre, sitting on the corner of Darlington Street and School Street.
But dwindling congregation numbers over the years has seen it struggle – church leaders held a meeting back in 2018 to discuss how to overcome ‘increasing challenges’.
The charity Good Shepherd, which occupies space in the church to serve meals to the homeless, recently announced it was planning to move to a new site in Waterloo Road.
The trustees of the church now hope that any new partners will help improve the Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1901, and make sure it serves the community the best way possible.
Reverend Chris Collins, minister at Darlington Street Methodist Church, hopes that a large part of the church can be used for something for the good of the city, like social housing – while still holding a crucial space for worshippers.
But there are options for it to become a restaurant, shops or an entertainment venue.
Reverend Collins said: “The church is part of the landscape of the city and is perceived as one of the iconic buildings of Wolverhampton.
“We’re doing this to ensure the building can still be part of the life of the city even though it’s not used to the best of its ability at the moment.
“If we had one wish it would be that the church could be used for a social benefit, like social housing.
“This is an opportunity for the church to respond to the challenges that it faces.”
Developers are being invited to pitch ideas to Bruton Knowles by July 10. Subject to planning, the company has suggested that the church has the potential for a variety of uses, including retail, dining, and leisure.
Bosses at the property firm added that the Methodist Church is also potentially seeking to retain space in the property, in some capacity, following the redevelopment project.
Matthew Kitson, associate at Bruton Knowles said: “The aim of the Joint Venture Partnership is to unlock this unique and historic building, introducing new and alternative uses to the site through refurbishment and/or redevelopment.
“This will ultimately attract new occupiers, ensuring the sustainability of the listed building for the benefit of Wolverhampton.
“The property provides over 15,000 sq ft of floor space and is an exciting opportunity for investors and developers alike.”