Plans to convert a historic Methodist church into a coffee shop and function room along with Airbnb accommodation have been approved.
Worsley Methodist Church ceased to be used by worshippers in 2011 and was put up for sale last year for £375,000.
Salford city council planners have now given the go-ahead to the change of use for the church on Barton Road, built in 1801, in what is now the Worsley Conservation Area.
A two-bed home will be created in the former Sunday school section of the church, but the main worship areas of the building will remain intact along with a mezzanine floor in a conversion estimated to cost more than £400,000 by the owner.
The church’s organ will also be retained as part of the proposal. A full planning application was accepted in 2015 for a proposal which would have seen the building converted into four apartments but was never carried out.
The current application is from Manchester-based Sandywood Properties Ltd, run by sole director Paul Sweeney.
His agent, Simon Plowman, of 8 Town Planning Ltd, said in planning documents the new proposal “retains more of the fabric of the building than the previous permission”.
The lower “non-original” rear extension will be demolished, allowing the cafe to use outside tables to be used by walkers and dog walkers.
The cafe will operate between 7am and 7pm with the function room available between 7pm and 10pm.
Mr Plowman goes on in his design and access statement: “The use of the building as a church ceased in around 2011 and a concerted effort to sell the property began almost immediately.
“Alternative uses such as offices and warehousing were considered. However, the proximity of the surrounding residential housing and the lack of parking was a major issue, deterring prospective purchasers.
“It is considered that without a change of use, the building will fall into further disrepair.”
Mr Sweeney told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he had lived in Worsley all his life and the project was his way of “putting something back” into the community.
And he described the previous plan to create four apartments in the historic as “a travesty” if it had gone ahead.
“It would’ve been lost to the public,” he said . “I was determined to keep the organ and the pulpit and we are looking at an artisan cafe hall.
“The budget to get this done is about £400,000 and it’s a big piece of work.”
Mr Sweeney said work would start this month and would take about 12 months to complete.
“We intend to install underfloor heating, replace the roof and install a toilet block with disabled access,” he said.