AN HISTORIC Weymouth church which was gutted by fire 18 years ago has been put up for sale.

Hopes are being raised that the Maiden Street Methodist Church will be brought back to life as homes after it was put on the market.

The Grade II listed building has stood in a semi-derelict state since going up in flames in January 2002, although it has planning permission to be converted into an apartment complex of 25 flats.

The Methodist Church and adjoining minister’s house is located in the heart of Weymouth Old Town and dates back to 1865.

As it is listed, its historic features must be preserved wherever possible.

Various schemes have been suggested for the site over the years – including a restaurant and apartments which, although agreed, proved too costly to build.

The latest plans for the site - which were granted in November 2019 - include the reconstruction of the church's historic rose window design, repairing and retaining the existing fabric whilst incorporating a contemporary structure inside the building to allow extra space for accommodation.

Dorset Council granted full planning permission for the reconstruction and change of use to create 25 apartments, as well as remedial works to the existing three-bedroom house. The council also granted Listed Building Consent in November.

Councillor Kate Wheeler said: "I would be delighted if it was sold if it was sold to a developer who has the capital to go ahead and do something with it. We've had plenty of planning applications approved and not come to fruition which has been a huge shame. Hopefully something positive will come from this but we shall see."

The building is within a 300-metre distance of the harbour, town centre, Esplanade and beach.

The property has been put on the market by Savills south coast development team.

Spokeswoman Marja Wilding said: “This is a rare opportunity to restore a Grade II listed building just 300m from the popular harbour.

“Following fire damage, the church is now a shell with the design philosophy to retain and repair the existing fabric and place a contemporary structure inside and on top of the shell to create the accommodation space.”

The price of the landmark property is available on application. Call Savills on 01202 856800 for more information.