Shutdown Blackpool church could be converted to homes

A former Catholic church in Blackpool looks set for a new chapter with plans to convert it to homes.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 10:32 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 10:32 am

St Monica’s Church on St Monica’s Way, Mereside, closed in February 2018 when the cost of repairs could not be justified due to the dwindling size of the congregation.

Now diocesan leaders have applied to Blackpool Council for permission to convert the church building into eight new homes, including six two-storey properties with roof terraces, and two apartments.

The central narthex, which is the entrance to the nave, will be demolished to provide a covered semi-public access way to the proposed dwellings, if planning permission is granted.

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The former St Monica's Church

Higher levels of the former church, known as the clerestory, would also be demolished to make way for proposed roof terraces.

Arrol Architects, based in Shrewsbury which have drawn up the proposals, says the central covered ‘street’ will provide access to all eight of the proposed units.

A proposed roof canopy would be glazed to ensure adequate light reaches the front rooms of the properties while also protecting the entrances from rain.

St Monica’s, which opened in 1973, had one of the smallest congregations in the Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocese when the decision was taken to close it.

Spokesperson Reverend Robert Billing said at the time: “The heating was shot. The roof needed replacing and in the end, with another church less than a mile away, it was decided that it couldn’t be justified pouring more money into the building.”

The majority of St Monica’s congregation relocated to the nearby St John Vianney Church on Glastonbury Avenue in Marton.

The application will now go before town hall planners at a future date.

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