Methodist Church in Ryhope could be demolished to make way for new social housing

Written by on 13th March 2023

A church which has been left abandoned and unused for several years could be demolished to make way for new social housing, according to plans submitted by Sunderland City Council.

St Cuthbert’s Methodist Church in Ryhope has been slated for demolition, with the plan to build social housing in its place to accommodate new people in the community.

According to the submitted plans, the main types of housing that would be built are bungalows, with the new properties having two or three bedrooms. In addition, they would contain car parking spaces outside the property and dedicated areas for staff.

The main target for the new properties are residents over the age of 55 who require help with everyday life, with some of the properties being stocked with supporting machinery to make life easier.

According to a design and access statement which has been released, the main reason for the church being put forward for demolition is due to it being in poor condition and unused for a number of years.

“The six dwellings have been carefully designed to compliment and reflect the existing streetscape, while also introducing quality contemporary architecture that strives to create a shared community for vulnerable people to thrive”, a further statement said.

When asked for comment, Conservative councillor for Ryhope Usman Ali has vocalised his support of the church being demolished to make way for the new housing.

“I am all for churches being used, but I think we do need more social housing. I am an advocate for not building on greenbelt land and using sites like this.

“I have seen the building and I think what else can we do with it, if it’s not going to be a place of worship?”

Local residents who have used the church over the years have expressed their sadness at the plans, saying that the church has provided “many great memories for me and my family” over the years and that “it will be greatly missed”.

A consultation on the bungalows, and demolition, is under way and a decision will be made by the end of March.

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