A LANDMARK Victorian town centre church could get a new parish hall.

The two-storey brick building is designed to cater for the residents of new housing developments nearby. It would replace an existing single-storey hall built in the early 1970s.

The Parochial Church Council of St Luke’s Church in Bank Top, Blackburn, has applied for planning permission for the new building having rejected refurbishing the existing building.

A supporting statement to Blackburn with Darwen Council planners by Patrick Wilson Architects says: “The church is temporarily closed but usually holds community events and meetings in both the church and the attached church hall.

“Its spire can be seen for at least 3.4 miles, when approaching Blackburn, and it serves as a landmark in the town.

“The church hall is a single-storey building attached to the church built in 1875 via a short link corridor.

“Blackburn with Darwen Council has plans for the surrounding area, as part of the Griffin Regeneration Area. Directly behind the church site is Phase Two - a housing development for 56 new homes. Phase One is planned to provide around 90 new homes.”

The new two-storey building on the footprint of the existing church hall would provide office space for 12 to 16 people; space for four youth group breakouts; a kitchen capable of providing up to 200 meals, disabled access and accessible toilets

The statement says: “The main entrance to the church is off the A674, Bank Top; with heavy pedestrian traffic there is an opportunity to advertise and use this to increase interest in the church.

“The location of the site opens up opportunities to serve growing residential areas to the south.

“The church hall and the church proposals are designed so that they can each be used in isolation, or as a single unit. The two-storey extension will more than double the existing church hall’s facilities.

“The main use of the building will be as office space, which will be hot desking for up to 10 people. In the multi-function spaces it is proposed that small and medium-sized Christian discussion meetings will be held, as well as family groups, for example parent and toddler groups.

“The building will also be open for daytime drop-in, eg teenagers on the way home from school or those requiring a place to shelter for a time.”

Blackburn Central’s Cllr Zamir Khab said: “I like this idea. It could be a valuable addition to the area with the new housing.”