£400k bill could sink bid to revive church
RESIDENTS could be priced out of turning a boarded up historic church into a community space - after it was revealed the scheme could cost more than £400,000.
St James Church Kirk held its last service in November 2015 and was put on the market by the diocese in September 2016 after a series of attempted break-ins left the vacant building a ‘safety risk’.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones had been petitioning church leaders for the building to be retained as a community asset because of its historical importance.
But following a meeting with church and community leaders last month, Mr Jones has revealed that it could cost a six-figure sum to transform the church, on St James Road, into a community space.
He said: “It would cost approximately £250,000 for the work necessary to bring the building up to standard, however after the cost of architects, surveyors etc. the figure would be around £400,000.
“It would also cost an estimated £25,000 per year for heating and lighting.
“Therefore an income would be needed to maintain the upkeep of the building.
“However, residents would be able to apply to funding schemes to assist with such costs.
“The building is cur- rently still on the market and it is known that potential buyers have expressed interest.
“If a buyer goes forward with purchasing the church, it would be a possibility to contact them in order to discuss what they wish to do with the building, as some have expressed that they are willing to dedicate some of the building to community use.”
The Grade II-listed building has been advertised on property website Right Move for an undisclosed amount, with ‘offers invited’.
Mr Jones said if an area of the building was dedicated to community use then it ‘could be beneficial for both Church residents and the potential buyer’.
He said: “Residents could possibly source funding to put towards the community space.
“A community group also has access to funding that individuals do not, for example the Lancashire Environmental Fund could be contacted by a community group regarding providing solar panels for the roof, something that an individual buyer would not be able to do.
“Solar panels would be useful in reducing costs.”
The now boarded up St James Church Kirk