A FORMER 1920s church is to be transformed into a luxury family home – complete with it’s very own art studio, gym and sauna.

The former Healds Green Methodist Church in Chadderton Fold was last used as a place of worship in 2016.

Oldham Council bosses have now approved a proposal for it to be converted into a palatial five-bedroom house.

Plans submitted to the town hall show it would include an entrance lobby, cloakroom, art studio, TV room, lounge, office, gymnasium, reading room, sauna and shower room.

On the lower ground floor there would be a family room, dining room, kitchen and utility room.

On the mezzanine level would be the master bedroom, together with a dressing room and en-suite bathroom.

The first floor would contain four double bedrooms, each with their own en-suite bathrooms, as well as a linen store.

The site covers 1.47 acres and is located in the designated green belt, and the land around the church would be converted into a private garden.

Supporting documents state that the proposed conversion has been designed to have "absolute minimal visual impact" on the outside, and no impact when viewed from the street.

“The proposal ensures that the conversion and refurbishment of the former, vacant church responds sensitively to its setting whilst creating a high quality, characterful and sustainable extension to the wider area,” it states.

The church dates back to at least 1929 and was originally constructed with an adjoining Sunday school building which has also now been converted to family homes.

But congregations at the church declined in recent years, down to just 11 parishioners at the beginning of 2016 which could "no longer be sustained", according to the report.

'It was purchased in October 2017 and the planning application was made by Oldham-based Studio KMA.'

The building is not nationally listed or within a conservation area, but Oldham council officers said they consider it "a non-designated heritage asset".

Planning officer Graham Dickman said it has some "historic significance", but concluded: “In this context it is considered that the development will represent a positive enhancement to the site whilst ensuring the building can be brought back into practical long term future use.”

The stained glass and leaded windows will be retained and reused within the building, including the installation of the stained glass window on the south elevation.

A single storey extension at the back of the building will add extra space, and accommodate two cars, while a new driveway will be created to the north of the church.

Supporting documents say that the empty building is at risk of theft and vandalism, and the conversion will secure its long-term future and maintenance.

The development must be carried out within three years.