Regenerating Churches No longer needed for worship


We have a strategic interest in churches that are no longer needed for worship, and are actively developing expertise in affordable residential conversion.

Czero’s conversion of the Welsh Baptist Chapel into 87 one bed apartments for students was an extreme example of what can be done, and many lessons were learned from that project. Ideally buildings are taken on before they start to deteriorate, let alone fall into ruin, and Czero currently has another church under offer where the proposal is a conversion of just 10 residential units.

Simon Linford brings the experience of having dealt with the purchase of churches closed for worship, having bought both St John’s Hanley and St Luke’s Blakenhall from the Church Commissioners (both Grade II*), bring them back into use and taking them off Heritage at Risk Registers.

Ground floor plan for the Chapel, our conversion of the Welsh Baptist Unitarian Chapel in Manchester

The Chapel

The creation of ‘The Chapel’ for Empiric Student Property was Czero’s first large historic building project. 87 student apartments and leisure facilities were built into and underneath this Grade II* listed building, in an award-winning and audacious project that was Empiric’s flagship scheme until Czero’s next project eclipsed even this! 

The Chapel was a derelict, roofless shell, whose only redeeming feature was location – less than a mile south of Manchester City Centre, opposite the university. The initial phase of the project to save the Chapel was a joint venture with Derek Latham and Mike Copestake in a partnership ‘Church Converts’. After much negotiation with Historic England, planning and listed building consents were obtained in 2014. 

The project was then taken forward by Czero on a forward funded basis to Empiric. A modern steel framed building was put inside the listed shell with a new roof matching the original profiles. Traditional masonry skills continued to the outside while a highly complex building was created inside. The graveyard was emptied and an underground leisure complex built in its place. 

The main contractor was HH Smith or Bury, and the project architect was Buttress. 

St John’s, Coleford

Czero is planning to convert the former church of St John the Baptist Coleford into twelve spacious and attractive apartments, giving residents the opportunity to share in a little piece of history. Interesting features of the listed building will be retained, creating unusual and interesting spaces throughout the development.

A key consideration of Czero’s proposals for the church is not to over develop the site. While a conversion to 30+ apartments might have been possible, this would be a strain on local services, traffic and parking around the building. The development is therefore limited to just twelve apartments arranged over three floors (including duplex first floor apartments), with parking within the churchyard.

The church building itself, a feature on the skyline, will be given a new lease of life, once again making a positive contribution to Coleford.

St John’s is currently in planning with a decision expected in the first half of 2024.

Church of St James, Castle Eden

Located in the picturesque County Durham village of Castle Eden is the Church of St. James.

Czero is planning to convert the former Church of St. James into a stunning individual property that will preserve the look and charms of the church.

The Grade II listed church already has an existing planning permission on the church. Czero are currently in the process of proposing amendments to the existing planning application.

We expect the Church of St. James new planning application to be made in the first half of 2024.