History of the Buildingroad
Hanover Place Wesleyan Chapel opened for public worship on Friday the 13th August 1847. It was described by the Leeds Intelligencer as “a neat looking edifice, built of redbrick and stone, from a design by Mr James Simpson, architect, of Trafalgar Street.” It contained seating for 1100 persons, and cost £3,500.
In the second half of the 20th century, the building was acquired by the council and allowed to fall into disrepair. In 1980, the council demolished the top storey of the building. They were accused by Ken Powell of the Victorian Society in Leeds of having broken the law, as they had failed to obtain planning permission prior to carrying out the demolition. A few years later, the ground floor was restored at public expense.
Currently the building is owned by the Ahlul Bayt Islamic Centre. It is they who have submitted a planning application to add two additional floors to the building and 10 student flats.
James Simpson, the architectroad
By the time he designed Hanover Place Wesleyan Chapel, James Simpson (1791-1864) had become one of the leading non-conformist architects in the north of England. Chapels by him in the classical style were erected in Barnsley, Bradford, Burnley, Derby, Hull, Keighley, Morley, Newark, Oldham, Rawtenstall, Ripon, Scarborough and Warrington. The most notable of his few Gothic chapels was the demolished Rowlands Methodist Chapel at Summerseat, Bury, Lancashire (1845-7).
In addition to Hanover Place Wesleyan Chapel, Simpson was responsible for a number of other Grade II listed buildings:
St. Peter’s Street Wesleyan Chapel (1834)
Oxford Place Wesleyan Chapel (1835)
Lady Lane Wesleyan Methodist Association Chapel (1840)
Headingley Wesleyan Chapel (1844-5)
Morley Central Methodist Church (1862)
Century Methodist Chapel, St. Saviourgate, York (1839-1840)
Planning application 13/01607/FU is to add first and second floors to provide 10 student flats and accommodation for a caretaker.
- The proposed building would be far too high and would set a dangerous precedent for other nearby sites with potential for development.
- The proposed building would be out of keeping with the rest of the buildings on Hanover Square. It would detract from the Conservation Area.
- Because of its height, the proposed building would dominate the adjacent newly built reproduction terrace on Hanover Square.
- The proposed building would have a pitched roof and three storeys, unlike the original building, which had a flat roof, and just two storeys. An amended application should be submitted which would restore the building to how it looked before the council demolished the first floor.
- The people who attend services are not local people. Most, if not all, come by car and many park on adjacent roads and pavements. There is already inadequate parking provision, without adding 10 students flats and accommodation for a caretaker.
- According to Unipol, Little Woodhouse already has the highest student density in the city. The population imbalance causes numerous problems in the area. The application is therefore contrary to UDP policy H15 and Core Strategy Policy H6.
- The site is immediately adjacent to Area 4 of the Kirkstall Road Renaissance Framework which states that because of the large amount of housing that in recent years has been built in the area, remaining sites should be redeveloped for a non-residential use.