Dave Usher, pictured in the now redundant St Luke’s Church which he will be using in partnership with Dave Leach as an antiques centre later this month. (Photo courtesy of Express & Star.)

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Bought for £1 last year by a Birmingham-based property developer, St Luke’s, Blakenhall, was described architecturally in a contemporary account as built in the “roguish Gothic Revival style”.

New tenants are Dave Usher and Dave Leach, who also run a 30-unit antiques centre at St John’s Church, Hanley, in Stoke-on-Trent which has been open for a year.

Fantastic space

Talking about their new project at St Luke’s, Usher said: “The repair work is all done and we are hoping to open later this month with 30 units and 20-30 cabinets.

“The church is a fantastic Gothic space which I love and it will be so good when it’s full of people, which is what it needs. It has been welcomed by the community and will bring business to the area. I have already had expressions of interest from prospective dealers at the centre.”

Simon Linford is the chief executive of Czero Developments, which specialises in historic building projects and now owns both St Luke’s and St John’s churches.

He said: “From a property development perspective, it is difficult to find viable uses for big inner-city redundant churches where surrounding values prevent residential conversion.

“Turning churches into antiques centres is never going to generate the sort of value needed to restore a building that is not in reasonable condition already, or indeed really pay much for the building in the first place.

“The beauty of the plan is that it provides a use that has a relatively low impact on the fabric of the building, keeps it open to the public, and saves it from decay. Also, this sort of building suits the product.”

If you are interested in taking a unit at St Luke’s, contact Dave Usher on 07970 444046.