FORMER church buildings in County Durham could be transformed into homes under new proposals lodged with planning bosses.

Earlier in August, Durham County Council received a planning application for the Tanfield Lea Methodist Church near Stanley.

The church and church hall have been vacant since the site was closed with the diocese offering the site for sale in 2016, planning documents state.

New proposals aim to give the church a new lease of life by converting the two buildings into homes.

A design, access and heritage statement submitted with the application confirms no extensions or partial demolition works are planned as part of the proposals.

It reads: “The new owner of the buildings would like to convert the church and church hall into two dwelling houses. 

“The church is to become the owner’s residence and the church hall is to be sold. The adjacent land around the buildings will be divided off to turn into off-road car park areas and gardens.”

It goes on to say: “The design proposals involve a slight change to the footprint of the existing buildings. The existing link between is to be altered to separate the two buildings. 

“The main challenge with the church has been to come up with a way of subdividing it to give the necessary bedrooms, while retaining the open nature of the space.”

Plans for the front of the church building would also retain and refurbish a large stained glass window. – alongside other window replacement works and extra windows at the rear.

Meanwhile, a detached garage is also proposed to serve the church hall building.

A decision on the development is expected by mid-October following public consultation.

Comments can be made on the plans up until Tuesday, September 8 by writing to Durham County Council’s planning department or commenting on its online planning portal.

For more information, visit and search planning reference: DM/20/02274/FPA