Mount St Mary's

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber

Local Authority: Leeds

Summary: An innovative residential scheme from a reputable local developer has revitalised this building (previously a Building at Risk) by replacing the nave aisles and presbytery with new housing, whilst still retaining the original profile of the church structure.

Description: Former church sitting on high ground to the south east of Leeds City Centre in an area undergoing a  major programme of regeneration.  The church was built to serve a large immigrant Irish population but much of the housing has since been cleared and the church was closed in 1989, with many of the interior fittings stripped out.
Issue: After eighteen years of vandalism and decay, this church building has fallen into a state of disrepair and was placed on English Heritage’s Building at Risk register.  The challenge lay in finding a sustainable new use for the building whilst minimising loss to the historic fabric. 
Strategy: EH and the Council engaged in pre-application discussions, which led to an acceptance that the loss of the nave and presbytery would be offset by the opportunity to bring the rest of the site back into use, restore the east end, introduce regular public access and assist in the regeneration of the wider area.  The memorial role of the site was maintained and enhanced through interpretive material and the skyline value of the building reproduced through new development.
Outcome: Creative interventions can help to bring positive outcomes and create sustainable futures for buildings at risk.


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