DEVELOPERS have applied to convert a derelict Stockport rectory into flats, in the latest attempt to protect the Grade II listed building from demolition.
St George’s rectory, which has been empty for more than 15 years, is owned by the Chester Diocesan Board of Education (CDBE). An earlier proposal, which would have meant knocking down the building and replacing it with a school and flats, was withdrawn in 2011 after protests from campaigners (News, 7 October 2011)
The new plans, put forward by the developers Harrison Hunt, and the architects Sanderson Borland, would restore the rectory and convert it into flats: other homes would be built on the adjoining land. The architects’ plans show that this would produce a total of 19 new homes.
St George’s rectory as it appears at present
The fate of St George’s, which was designed by Hubert Austin and Edward Paley at the turn of the 20th century, now lies with Stockport Council. A decision on the planning application is expected towards the end of the year.
Chester diocese has faced criticism from some campaigners for its approach to the site. In an email to this newspaper, John Fidler, who led the fight to save the building in 2011 and is a former Conservation Director at English Heritage, referred to “the disgraceful years of neglect and inadequate security and maintenance by the diocese.”
A spokesperson for Chester diocese said: “The CDBE has undertaken ongoing maintenance works to the former vicarage since 2007.”
The diocese will await the outcome of the planning process before deciding on further action.