AN ‘EYESORE’ building which has belonged to a community centre for decades could be demolished to make way for new homes, it has emerged.

Trustees at the St Mary’s Centre in Clitheroe have revealed their ambition to knock down an old extension situated next to the centre on York Street in a bid to sell the land it sits on.

The Institute, as it is known, has become a ‘health and safety hazard’ over recent years, with trustees describing the flat-roofed building as a local eyesore.

Now it is understood that bosses at the centre, which operates as a charity providing public halls and rooms for hire, seek approval for the plans in a bid to sell of the land to finance renovations to the site’s main building – which will remain fully operational.

It is hoped that should the plans be approved, and the land sold, funds would enable for the installation of a new heating system and improved disabled and general access to the lower hall.

Speaking on behalf of the trustees, Reverend Andrew Froud, chairman of the group, said: “The Institute, on York Street, is a health and safety hazard, having been built with a flat roof. It is well known as a local eye sore.

“The trustees of the St Mary’s Centre will ensure that all money made on the sale of the Institute will be spent on the improvement and development of the St Mary’s Centre, to the wider community.”

A statement prepared by Judith Douglas Town Planning Ltd on behalf of the client said: “The building, known as The Institute, is a 20th century extension at the rear of the St Mary’s Centre. It is in poor condition and has become a liability.

“St Mary’s Centre is a charity providing public halls and rooms for hire to community groups, it is an asset to the community.

“However, the running of this centre is not viable and sustainable is The Institute is retained. The sale of the site will provide income to the charity to enable it to carry out essential repairs and upgrades to the fabric of the main building.”

It is proposed to develop four two-bedroom apartments on the site once permission is granted to demolish The Institute.

Developers say that the layout of the new apartments would offer open plan living area facing out on to York Street.

The centre currently provides a venue for several community groups and events, including weekly users, events for local schools, charities, dance school shows and the annual Operatic and Drama Society production.

A spokesman added: “It is acknowledged by all that this is a sensitive site in the Conservation Are and within the setting of listed buildings and non-designated heritage assets.

“The main issues to be considered are the impact of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting on the adjacent listed buildings.

“Pre-application discussions have confirmed that the impact of the demolition of The Institute on the character of the conservation area and setting of listed building is unlikely to raise concerns.”