A FORMER church is set to become a nursery school.

Baxenden Methodist Church in Blackburn Road, Rising Bridge, has been taken over by the team behind Haslingden’s Puddleducks Nursery.

The church, built in 1969, closed in 2010 and nursery bosses have asked Rossendale Council for permission to carry out ‘extensive’ renovations.

Andrew Chettle, from Crawshawbooth, wants replace window frames, create two new doorways, and add a play area and timber fencing.

In a planning statement, he said: “The building is being renovated to provide a warm, safe and good-quality place for children.

“The car park and garden will be attractively maintained with planting, lighting and a pleasant outdoor play space.”

Puddleducks’ Haslingden venture, in Helmshore Road, opened in 1991 and was rated outstanding at its last inspection by education watchdog Ofsted in May 2012.

The company’s website states: “Baxenden Methodist Church was newly built in 1969 and shares the same style of building as the bungalows in Haslingden.

“With careful and sympathetic refurbishment the hall will give staff and children a pleasant and spacious playroom.

“There are two other rooms; The Beehive Room, which will be turned into a cosy baby room, and an office and staff room.

“There are plans to build additional rooms.”

Mr Chettle said the development could create five full-time and two-part time jobs, although it is unclear how many youngsters would attend.

The applicant wants to remove the building’s cross and replace it with the Puddleducks logo and replace guttering, plumbing and electrical systems.