The ultimate Grand Designs challenge?Grade II-listed Gothic church with planning permission to create a five-bedroom home for sale for £150k in West Yorkshire

Planning permission has been granted to turn Christ Church in West Yorkshire into a large family home. 

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A Grade II-listed Gothic church close to where BBC crime drama Happy Valley is filmed has been listed for sale for £150,000.

For buyers on the hunt for a renovation challenge,  full planning permission has been granted to convert the 19th-century building into a two-storey, five-bedroom family home.

Work has already begun on many of the rooms, with the kitchen, three bathrooms, several reception rooms and the bedrooms all partially completed.

The gravestones in the churchyard are all over 100-years-old and the advice of the local conservation officer should be sought before their removal. The grave of the murdered vicar has historical interest and must stay.

House prices in the valley are rising and there is limited available land for building affordable new homes, making this a rare opportunity, but buyers should expect to spend at least £200,000 finishing the ambitious project, according to Reeds Rain estate agent.

The vicarage's murderous past



Buyers with an interest in the macabre will be intrigued by the story of a double murder that took place in the neighbouring vicarage in 1868.

The then Reverend Anthony Plowhad forbidden his young cook Sarah Bell from continuing an illicit relationship with a local man named Miles Weatherill.

Sarah confided in household servant Jane Smith that she was still seeing Miles in secret, only for Jane to tell Mrs Plow, who then told her husband.

Reverend Plowangrily sent Sarah back to her family in York. Miles begged her to return, but she refused having a found a new job she enjoyed.

In a heartbroken rage, a drunken Miles stormed into the vicarage and shot Jane and the Plows, with both Jane and the Reverend dying from their injuries.

Miles was hanged later that year in the last public execution to be held in Manchester and the stained glass window at the east end of the church was erected in the Reverend's memory.

Nevertheless, detached homes in the area sell for an average of £330,000, more than double the church's £150,000 asking price. 

It's certainly a tempting prospect. Beautiful stained glass windows flood the interior with light and high ceilings make the expansive space seem even bigger. Plus there's a historic tower bell to add extra interest.

The property has been lived in for some years, but realistically there is significant work required to make it truly habitable. Due to the property not being fully watertight, there may be difficulties in securing a residential mortgage loan to purchase it, so the advice of a qualified mortgage consultant should be sought.

“The church has been attracting significant interest but on viewing it, many people are concerned about the huge scale of both the property and the work required,” a Reeds Rains spokesperson said.

“This could, however, be a stunning and highly desirable residential property for someone who has the finances in place to buy and make improvements to it and one that we are sure will appeal to someone who has a keen interest in the renovation of historic buildings.”

Flooded with light: Beautiful stained glass windows are a major selling point

Buyers will be allowed to alter the lychgate (the roofed gateway to the churchyard traditionally used for sheltering a coffin before burial) to provide vehicular access.

Christ Church is found next door to a primary school a short stroll from Todmorden town centre. Todmorden is often chosen as a filming location thanks to its atmospheric Victorian mill town image and most notably featured in BBC1 crime drama Happy Valley.

It boasts independent shops, cafes, restaurants and plenty of pubs, including two dating back to the 18th century and one renowned for its live music. Culture-wise, there is the Hippodrome Theatre, a small toy and model museum and a library, while annual events include a carnival, an agricultural show, a beer festival, a music festival and traditional mediaeval Easter plays.

Todmorden is about 10 miles south east of Burnley and the M65 motorway.

It is served by two stations, making it a popular choice for commuters working in Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield. London is about a three and a half hour journey, with one change. The church is just a five-minute walk from Todmorden Station and Manchester, 17 miles away, is easily reachable by car.

Christ Church is for sale through Reeds Rains. Call 01706 566 095 for more details.

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