In looking at possible solutions to these problems it became clear that the site was not best suited for the parish as it stands now; the church was consecrated in 1843 and there has been a huge amount of urban development in the past one hundred and fifty years.
An application for redundancy of the old parish church moved its focus to the pastoral needs of the people of the parish, not the physical state of the building. The Queen's Privy Council declared the church redundant with effect from October 1st 2000.
There was a feasibility study in 1995, looking at the possibility of building a new church for the parish. This found that the only site which looked likely for a large building project was the land we already owned on the site at St. Francis House.
A working group was set up and architects became involved in the project. Outline plans were submitted to Bury Planning Authority, resulting in outline planning permission being granted. This gave us time to reflect and look at what we could, with vision, build on the site.
A New Church Building Group was formed and began to look at thoughts and ideas as to the facilities required in a building that will not only be a church, but a parish centre, serving our congregation and the surrounding community.
As shown here, the original plan was to seat up to 252 people.
This was later modified (outlined here in red) to seat 200 people and the Parish Centre when eventually built will now be a stand-alone building.
These facilities will be used of course, by the congregation to service the life, ministry and mission of the parish.
The available facilities will also be used by the whole community and the various agencies woking within that community.
The local facilities for the following types of activities are very limited. We desperately need space for a lunch club, a day-care centre for the frail / elderly, a mother and baby group, kids' holiday clubs, further education classes, children and youth groups, women's groups, counselling provision, meetings of residents and other community functions. As an interim measure, St Francis House now partly meets this need following refurbishment work.
The building of a new vicarage gave a focus to the site and a starting point for the new church and parish centre.
Full planning permission was granted in May 2000 and signalled the go ahead for the fund raising needed to build our new church and parish centre.
After seven years of fund raising work, sufficient funds were available to enable the commencement of building work which began in July 2007 .
And then in June 2008 with the building work completed, many of us were privileged to share in the Consecration Service led by Bishop Nigel.