WORK costing £40,000 to improve the look of an 18th century church in Accrington has been completed.

The improvements to the grounds of Grade II-listed St James’ Church include new stone paved paths and lighting to the church’s facades.

Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “It’s great to see the refurbishment of this important green space within the town centre, which makes this whole area more welcoming for visitors with an events space for the whole community to enjoy.

“The refurbishment of the grounds complement the planned opening up of the church for community use, music rehearsal and performance.”

Gordon Whewell, deputy church warden said: “St James’ congregation are delighted. The whole of St James’ Square is one of Accrington’s treasures and the additional planting within the grounds and floodlighting will complement this area with charm and elegance.

“Sympathetic changes within the church are also planned to enable greater community use and ensure the church continues to be a place of worship and prayer.”

Hyndburn Green Spaces Forum has helped to secure £40,000 towards the cost of this project.