A REMOTE village primary school which was closed may brought back to life as a community centre.

Gisburn Forest Tosside Parochial School had just nine pupils when Lancashire County Council pulled the plug, saying high running costs made it inviable.

But villagers are hoping new plans to turn the 150-year-old building into a community centre will soon go ahead.

The village already has an institute built by the villagers in the late Sixties. But it needs updating and enlarging to accommodate the growing demands of the expanding village.

Last year a number of residents suggested applying for grant aid to either renovate the institute or sell it for housing and relocate it to the redundant school buildings which the village would have to buy from the Bradford Church of England Diocese. It is believed the village owns the institute, although this is still to be confirmed.

"Several of us thought both ideas would be a way forward for the village," said Villager Richard Schofield. "We needed to know which idea would be the most appropriate and would be most likely to receive funding."

The village social committee put the idea to other residents and though most were keen to see improvements, they were split between the sites.

A feasibility study was commissioned which will look into the possibilities of both sites and a questionnaire is to be sent to all households and businesses. People from outside the village can also fill in a questionnaire as it is expected the new hall will be widely used by other villages and organisations. The study, costing £6,000, should be completed in May.

"We will then know which is the best option to go for and can set about applying for lottery funding," said Mr Schofield.

"The village has grown over the last few years, but has lost its school. Updating or resiting the institute into a community centre, possibly with computers and facilities for outside organisations and pre-school groups, will benefit everyone and keep the village alive."