Church leaders, struggling with repairs and ongoing maintenance costs of their old church, are in talks with Chorley Council to help turn their dream to build a new fit-for-purpose church into reality.
Chorley United Reformed Church in Hollinshead Street had commissioned a report on how to develop its future ambitions to extend the services it offers and had made the decision that it needed a new church building with additional facilities for its expanding outreach programme.
Now it’s looking at a site swap deal after contacting the council for help in finding an alternative site.
The Minister, the Rev Martin Whiffen, said: “We have been looking into various options for a number of years now. The church building is in need of so much repair, the walls are bowing and have been for years. They haven’t been properly supported and despite successive attempts to buttress them they are still bowing out. The subsidence from mining in the past has taken its toll.
“We are talking to the council about a land swap and building a new church which will cut our costs considerably enabling us to expand our outreach work such as our weekly open kitchen and our planned ‘wrap around’ care for the elderly and infirm.
“It is early days yet, but I can reassure everyone that we will be taking the important parts of the building with us, such as the stained glass, organ, war memorials etc and we plan to create a new memorial garden at the new church so for those who wish, ashes of their loved ones will be reverently disinterred and then reinterred in the new garden as part of a Service of Dedication.”
Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, said that the church had approached the council with its plans completely independently.
“Having been contacted by them, we were more than happy to try to help them find an alternative site and if a land swap does go ahead, I can’t deny that their current site is an ideal one for us.
“It is a prime area within our town centre masterplan which we can now look to incorporate into any future development such as the Market Walk extension.
“We’ve advised the church what sites we have available, they looked at a number of them and they have chosen Friday Street because they it meets their criteria of visibility, being close to the town centre and in an area undergoing development and modernisation.
“We are pleased we are able to help the church move forward with their plans as I’m sure it’s not a decision they’ve taken lightly.”