Fire-hit church will be restored and made into student flats

Regeneration: The former Ethical Spiritualist Church and inset Coun Brian Rollo
Regeneration: The former Ethical Spiritualist Church and inset Coun Brian Rollo
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A historical city church is going to be transformed into student accommodation - but its outstanding features will remain.

The former Ethical Spiritualist Church in Moor Lane was destroyed by a blaze earlier this year.

Plans to turn it into student flats have this week been given the green light.

The church was gutted by a blaze back in January and has remained empty ever since.

Councillors on Preston Council’s planning committee have now rubber stamped plans to create 12 flats over four floors in the building.

Chairman of the meeting, Coun Brian Rollo described the building as ‘impressive’.

He added: “It is student accommodation slap bang in the middle of the university.

“It is right on the edge of the city.

“It is a nice building to look at, well what’s left of it.

“It lost its roof and what was inside in the fire. It is a lovely building.

“We want to be keeping nice looking buildings like that.”

Coun Rollo said considering the area where the church is the best use of it would be for student accommodation.

Councillors on the planning committee heard how the church had fallen into severe disrepair prior to the fire as it had been derelict for years.

Planning officers, who recommended that the plans be approved, said that the proposals would have “significant regeneration benefits.”

The aim is to reconstruct and alter the former church whilst maintaining its impressive facade.

After the fire the building was left with just four exterior walls standing.

The front and back of the building will essentially remain the same.

The sides would have bay windows introduced with obscure glazing on the main forward facing windows.

The former church will be home to eight one bedroom flats and four five bedroom flats with en suite facilities with separate kitchen and dining room at the rear.

Cycle provision and a bin storage area will also be made available, on the south west side of the building.

There will also be disabled access to one of the front ground floor flats accessed from a passageway to the north east side of the building.

The plans were given the go ahead despite three letters of objection from neighbours.

The objections related to right of access but the committee heard that these are private civil issues and not planning considerations.