ROSSENDALE: Former church planned to host concerts, gallery, events and tourist activities

A former listed church in downtown Bacup is fast becoming a multi-purpose community venue for events such as music concerts, art shows, and farmers’ markets.

Former St John the Evangelist Church on Burnley Road may also have a small holiday apartment built next door, according to plans which are recommended for approval by the Rossendale Borough Council Development Review Committee this week.

Applicant Freddy Khattab is seeking full change-of-use authorization for a range of jobs, some of which have already been completed and others are proposed. A previous building permit was issued in 2015 to allow the conversion of the old building into a dwelling.

Various 3D drawings and other plans were created for the applicant by Buttress Architects in Manchester and submitted to City Council.

The Grade II listed building is described by Rossendale planners as a key building in the Bacup Conservation Area. Officers recommend approval and the plans have been described as appropriate by the Historic England organization.

A planning report for councilors in this week’s development committee report says: market, gallery and concerts, with a residential housing element retained.

“The request includes internal and external modifications to the building, as well as landscaping and support work. Also the construction of an outdoor sanitary block and the construction of a new independent T2

apartment for vacation rental use.

The proposed opening hours for the new site would be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Nine letters of support were received. Supporters say the new site would improve Bacup by providing social, economic and tourism benefits. The additional toilet block would benefit the city, other farmers’ markets are popular, cultural life could be stimulated and the iconic building would avoid being forgotten.

Lancashire Telegraph: Former St John Evangelist Church, Bacup.  Drawing: Buttress Architects Fall 2021. Screenshot (15)

Five letters of opposition raised concerns about parking, the proximity of the proposed washrooms to neighboring properties, disruption, litter and nightly disturbance.

The report adds: “Several comments have been received from local residents highlighting potential noise nuisance issues resulting from events held in the building.

“It is understood that several events have taken place at the premises in the past without a building permit which caused noise nuisance late at night due to the sound escaping from the building and the voices of customers once they left the building late at night.

“These events took place without any restriction on opening hours and without any acoustic glazing being installed. However, the council’s environmental health team has been consulted on the current proposals which now include all the details of the proposed acoustic and secondary glazing to be installed, and all the details of the exhaust-ventilation system to be installed – and did raised no objections subject to these being installed.

Lancashire Telegraph: Former St John Evangelist Church, Bacup, Drawing Buttress Architects.  Fall 2021. Screenshot (13)

All concerts organized before the installation of the new soundproof glass must end at 6 p.m., the agents recommend. No outside music will be allowed.

Eight parking spaces are available to staff on a paved area west of the old church

Rossendale councilors will review the plan at the development committee meeting on Tuesday, December 14, at the borough offices in Futures Park, Bacup.

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