Shropshire Star

Empty Telford church could be converted into 'chic' wine bar under new plans

An historic town centre church which has been left unused for 12 years could be converted into a ‘chic’ wine bar, under plans submitted to the council.

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Madeley pic. The Fletcher Methodist Church pictured on February 2, 2022. As you can see it is boarded up. Fletcher Memorial Centre (at the rear, apparently). John Fletcher. Madeley church. Madeley chapel. Madeley Wesleyan Chapel. Library code: Madeley pic 2022. Madeley 2022..

Plans for Fletcher Methodist Church in Madeley include a restaurant, open market and hairdressers.

The application, which has been submitted to Telford & Wrekin Council, include opening a forecourt providing ‘safer access’ for pedestrians from Court Street to the town centre shops.

The building was last used in 2011 and included a primary school.

“The Fletchers Church, with a split-level balcony, will be transformed into a chic Wine Lodge with a fantastic viewing gallery, several intimate spaces and atmospheric bars,” said applicant Mark Chamberlain in the planning statement.

“The former schoolroom will be transformed into a traditional English pub and restaurant. A small hairdressing salon will be introduced into the former schoolroom area.

“A farmers’ market and craft fair, with funky artisan food and beverage court will take place on the forecourt fronting Court Street and along the south side of the church fronting the adjacent car park.”

Fletcher Methodist Church was built in 1841 and given Grade II listed status due to its ‘special architectural or historic interest’.

After its final use in 2011 the building was offered for sale as a church before being ‘secured’ by the applicant in October 2018.

Mr Chamberlain says that the main church building will become a wine lodge providing food, drink, music and dancing facilities throughout the day-time but would be ‘most intensively’ be used in the evenings.

The forecourt and a small area to the east of the main church building would be used as an open market.

It would also provide a ‘safer means’ of access for pedestrians from Court Street to the town centre shops than the current route, which requires shoppers to cross the vehicular access to the adjacent car park.

The only alterations that would be visible from outside the buildings would be ‘a number of’ new fire escape doors and an odour extraction flue.

The plans include ‘a number’ of minor alterations but nothing of a structural nature.

“The proposed development is aimed at retaining the listed buildings on the site in the same form as they exist at present,” added the applicant.

“The uses proposed will not have any harmful effect on the buildings but will give them a new viable use that will bring vitality to the town centre, and will allow the opportunity for a greater number of people, including tourists, to gain access to the buildings.

“It will attract people to Madeley centre which will increase the attractiveness of the centre as a whole, and increase footfall for the nearby retail facilities.”

Plans can be viewed on the Telford & Wrekin Council website, application number TWC/2023/0731. Representations should be made to the council before October 26.