Alice Sumner, who lives on a nearby property in Spanby, has been in correspondence with the district council regarding the conversion of the hamlet’s semi-derelict St Nicholas’ Church.
Parts of the Grade Two listed building date back to the old 14th century church, but most are from the existing structure from 1882.
His plan is to convert the old church, which has been used as a garden warehouse since its closure in 1973, to become a one-bedroom house with a loft living room in the nave, a porch, a kitchen-dining room and a study below and the chamber in the chancel. The council previously gave a previous owner permission to convert it in 1990, but Miss Sumner is seeking to complete the work.
Miss Sumner explains: “I have lived my whole life next to St. Nicholas and hope to make it my first home. I’m not a property developer – I’m looking to make a quick buck, and as such I’m willing to fight for what I believe to be the best property design. Converting the building offers the best opportunity to undo botched repairs and secure the site’s future viability. But in my opinion, this means that elements will have to be deleted or modified. I don’t think it will harm the character of the building, on the contrary, it will allow it to be lived in, enjoyed and ultimately preserved.
“I firmly believe that although my proposed plans will alter the space, they will ultimately result in an improvement in the appearance and character of the building, and ensure its preservation for another 140 years.”
She adds: “At the end of the day, if the church remains a garden shop, it will not be financially viable to undertake such extensive repairs.”
His first priority is to repair the roof, restore the oak steeple, restore the gutters and add six roof lights to add light and ventilation.
The original doors will be retained or reused, while the original Minton tiles will be cleaned and preserved. A tempered glass floor section will be added to the west end of the mezzanine to let in light and allow the vaulted ceiling to be visible as soon as you enter the nave.
Miss Sumner adds: “The most notable windows will be retained, while the others will be modernized to make the building a functional living space.
“I believe this mix of old and new does not detract from the significance of the building, particularly considering that the windows will be finished to a very high standard.”
On the mezzanine, she comments: “I sincerely believe that the subdivision makes it possible to take better advantage of the space.
“In addition to this there would also be a double height section near the staircase. This means that as you walk through the kitchen the eye is drawn to the ceiling and then as you move up the mezzanine you get the full effect of the incredible roof space and five-lobed window.
“I also hope to restore the original font, which will then be visible under the glass floor.”