A HISTORIC former church could be set to be reopened as a community hub if plans go ahead.

Grade II-listed St James’ Church Kirk has been out of use since November 2015 but its future was discussed at a recent residents’ meeting.


People in Church Kirk met to discuss with the potential plans for the building with the Archdeacon of Blackburn Rev Mark Ireland.

He said that the meeting was ‘positive’ for the future of the church and he hopes to see the building put to community use to serve ‘future generations’.

Rev Ireland said: “I shared our vision to see this historic building retained and put to use for future generations.

“We explored a number of ideas including the creation of a community hub for tourist and leisure activities.

“When Church Kirk was originally built in the 13th century church buildings were often the only community space in an area.

“It would be my hope to keep this vision of the building’s original multiple role alive and also to make it available for occasional church services.”

Rev Ireland said that he will now have discussions with community funding organisations with a view to what community and social enterprise uses the building could be put to.

Ideas discussed at the meeting include for it to be made into a ‘high quality tearoom’ or a drop-in facility for the elderly.

A working group is also being put together from people within the community, with support from the diocese, to look into running the building and how it could best serve the area.

Hyndburn Council representative for Church Cllr Lorraine Cox invited the archdeacon to come along and discuss the plans for the building and now wants to ‘move forward’.

She said: “The loss of St James is a blow to Church Kirk and it’s something both me and Councillor Jean Battle want to see saved.

“Now we have met with the diocese leaders and formed a plan we can move forward.

“The community is willing to help.”