HYNDBURN Borough Council has given permission for any future purchaser of a landmark church to demolish it at any point in the next five years, if that is needed to redevelop the site.

Its current owners have made clear that while Barnes Square Methodist Church, Clayton-le-Moors, is being ‘prepared for sale’, there are no current plans for it to be knocked down.

Earlier this month the council give approval for the demolition of the building within five years of November 8, 2012, without further ‘prior notification’.

In September, Hyndburn councillors refused a similar application because they said they had been given ‘insufficient information’ about what was proposed for the building.

That information was subsequently supplied to its planning committee.

Last month, the Rev Pat Brown, who oversees the area’s Methodist churches, said in a statement:: “The church, and the area surrounding it, is being prepared for sale.

“Our agents have advised that it would be helpful to prospective purchasers for them to know what Hyndburn Council’s view was of a future demolition, should a purchaser decide to take this option.

“The building is not scheduled for demolition by the Methodist Church...nor will we do so, unless something happens that we are currently unaware of.

“The application was made by our agents ‘to test the water’.”

Daniel Hamer, of Lea Hough, acting as agents for the church, said Mr Brown had no further comment to make after the approval.