Church bosses say new hall will be real boost for the community

There have been aspirations to build a new community hall at Holy Family Church in Astley for several years
There have been aspirations to build a new community hall at Holy Family Church in Astley for several years

A church’s long-awaited new community hall is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Leaders at the church have submitted a planning application to Wigan Council seeking permission to build a community hall at Holy Family Church in Astley.

Both buildings are in a bad state so we have been trying since before the millennium to have a new hall built to fit the purposes of the groups that use it and to reach into the community, particularly the elderly people who have nowhere to go.

Fr Paul Grady

If approved, it will replace two buildings on the Chaddock Lane site and become a hub for members of the church, school and the wider community.

Fr Paul Grady, priest at Holy Family, said: “On the existing site we have two halls, one is the old church which is falling apart and the other is a scout hall which has been used by uniformed groups and badminton groups for many years.

“Both buildings are in a bad state so we have been trying since before the millennium to have a new hall built to fit the purposes of the groups that use it and to reach into the community, particularly the elderly people who have nowhere to go.”

The new hall will be built behind the current site of one of the existing buildings.

It will have enough space for two badminton courts and a host of facilities, including meeting rooms and a small kitchen.

Fr Grady said: “It will be a fantastic size for uniform groups and youth groups. We have parents and toddlers in there as well and they can use that facility.

“There should be an outdoor gated area for children to play outside safely.

“There will be children’s toilets, which is an improvement because we only have normal toilets. We will have facilities for adults and children.”

The new hall would allow for improvements to existing events, such as a monthly coffee morning, as well as enable new activities to be held.

The planning application has been submitted by Astley-based Redwaters Developments, which is also working on the £9m Astley Point project.

It includes a residential development of 13 family houses, which would be built to the west of the church, and new vehicular and pedestrian access.

There would also be improvements to an unmade road to the car park and the access, along with new footpaths which link to an existing footpath to the school.

The council is currently running a consultation period on the planning application and a decision is expected to be made by January 2.

If it is approved, building work could start in April and be completed by Christmas 2017.