Plans to turn Barrowford church into dental practice and apartments withdrawn

A dentist who wanted to turn an existing chapel into a private dental practice and three apartments has withdrawn his application.

Tom Friar, of Skipton Road Dental Surgery, lodged plans with Pendle Borough Council in June asking to transform Saint Peter and Saint Pauls Roman Catholic Church in Gisburn Road, Barrowford, into a private dental practice and three one-bedroom apartments.

Had the plans been approved, the dental practice would have been accessed from Gisburn Road and would have occupied the ground floor and first floor.

Separate access and associated landscaping would have been created for the proposed apartments, which were due to be built on the lower ground floor.

However, the application received numerous objections from residents, Barrowford Parish Council, and included an objection from Lancashire County Council’s Highways Department, who all raised concerns over traffic and parking.

There were also issues raised around the narrowness of the roads, the sharp bends on the busy and sometimes dangerous main road outside the surgery, refuse collections, and large footfall of patients accessing the site and leaving cars in front of residents’ homes.

Mr Friar revised the plans, but a statement from LCC following the submission of the amended documents read: “Having considered the amended and further information submitted, this has not addressed the highway safety concerns sufficiently for the highway authority to withdraw its objection due to the low level of off-road parking proposed, together with the proposed refuse collection arrangements for the residential element of the scheme.”

Following this, the application was withdrawn. And on August 22, Pendle Council issued the following statement: “The Borough Council of Pendle hereby confirm that the above mentioned application has been withdrawn.”

St. Peter and St. Pauls was founded in around 1897 and the building was run as a Catholic church up until 2019, when a decision was made to close the church due to declining numbers, issues with car parking tariffs in the area, and the availability of other churches and mass times in surrounding parishes.

It was sold not long after.

The building, while not itself listed, is located within the Higherford conservation area and is surrounded by a number of listed buildings including Higherford Old Bridge, and two Grade II listed stone cottages, but the change of use will not affect any of these sites.

Mr Friar’s proposal intended to organise the existing space to create a dental practice over two floors with a total internal area of 380m2 and three one-bedroom apartments with separate access.

A planning statement submitted in June read: “The proposal offers a new use and community asset to the local area

“It is our opinion that the renovation proposals will have no detrimental impact on the conservation area and the wider listed buildings.

“The change of use allows this existing heritage asset to secure a future as a beneficial part of the community.”



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