16 October 2017

New home identifed for church

A town centre church that is in need of repair is set for a new home on Friday Street after a lengthy search for a site that will help them to put more back into the community.

Chorley United Reformed Church, on 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.

It turned to Chorley Council for help in finding an alternative site and it looks like a deal will be offered that will benefit the church congregation and provide much-needed parking spaces close to the shopping streets.

The Minister, the Rev Martin Whiffen, said: “We have been looking into various options for a number of years now and I believe we have found the right site for us on Friday Street.

“We have been 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 wrap around care for the elderly and vulnerable, healthy eating courses, IT literacy sessions and much more.

“We’re looking forward to progressing this move, but I can reassure everyone that we will be taking the important parts of the building with us, such as the stained glass, 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.

“We are very fortunate to have a council which is committed to improving our town and the development will be a great for the local community.”

The new location for the church looks set to be on Friday Street north car park (adjacent to the main car park on Friday Street). The church and council are now working through a detailed design process in preparation for submitting a planning application.

The church congregation could move as early as next Easter with the council’s Bengal Street offices a potential temporary home until the new church is built.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council, said: ““Having been contacted by the church, we were more than happy to try to help them find an alternative location and their current site is an ideal one for us. 

“It is a prime area within our town centre and although there won’t be any gain in spaces as the new site will take up spaces on Friday Street – it moves those spaces to within a 30 second walk of the Market Walk development.

“The church looked at a number of sites and they have chosen Friday Street because 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.”

Work to open up the existing church car park to shoppers is about to be completed creating more spaces on the Hollinshead Street car park.