The sale of a church in Leeds is being stymied by banks’ reluctance to lend, an estate agent has said.
Beeston Methodist Church, at the junction of Town Street and Wesley Street in Beeston, was put on the market about two years ago with planning permission to be turned into flats.
But, despite several expressions of interest, estate agents Sanderson Weatherall have yet to tie up a sale for the £325,000 property.
Partner David Chary said: “We have had two or three people expressing very keen interest in the property, but like so many other sales transactions it is being made difficult because the flow of credit has basically ground to a halt.
“It’s very frustrating.”
The church, dating back to the 1860s, closed because of dwindling numbers about five years ago, when the congregation joined St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Old Lane in Beeston.
Planning permission for the run-down property, granted initially in 2007 and amended in 2010, would have allowed a buyer to turn it into 14 properties.
Permission has since lapsed, but Mr Chary believes getting the go-ahead for fresh plans would be straightforward.
However, he said other faith groups as well as private developers were interested in buying the property.
He said: “I’m in negotiations with various parties at the present time.
“There’s quite strong interest in this property from both applicants who are seeking to use it as an alternative place of worship and those looking at some form of residential development.”
The Methodist Church said it could not influence who bought the church. As a charity it is obliged to accept the highest offer.
The Rev Sue Sowden, superintendent of the Leeds South Methodist Circuit, said: “Despite the closure of the building, we remain committed to worshipping and serving in our community. Proceeds from the site’s sale will help fund our work in this area.
“No sale has yet been agreed on the site and so it would be inappropriate for us to comment on any offers that have been made.”