Life Church given more time to pay off debt

The Life Church on Sycamore Avenue in Burnley has had the work postponed. G140611/1
The Life Church on Sycamore Avenue in Burnley has had the work postponed. G140611/1

A CHURCH has been given more time to pay off money owed to Burnley Borough Council as it seeks to build a new community centre.

The Life Church in Sycamore Avenue came in for criticism recently from nearby residents who branded the development “an eyesore” after it was left for some time when funding dried up.

Burnley Council’s Executive Committee has now voted to extend the deadline for the Life Church to pay money due to the council. This is now due for payment in December 2012.

The church has secured a grant from Veolia and has made plans to develop the green area near the building. There will be level mown grass areas for recreation and new footpaths. Hoardings will be tidied and railings painted, and there will be ongoing maintenance.

However, when contacted by the Express, the church refused to comment on or confirm any of the plans.

Sycamore Avenue resident Mr Bill Brown was pleased with the news. He said: “It has been a mess for a long time so I just hope things can start moving again.

“I understand that some developments can be delayed but this really has gone on for too long.”

Coun. Roger Frost, the council’s Executive member for economic regeneration and business support, said: “Council officers have been working with the church to address issues that local residents have raised, and all signs are that things are moving in the right direction. We recognise that downturns in the economy have meant that the church hasn’t been able to develop the site in the way originally envisaged, or as quickly as it would like.

“This council decision is the reasonable one which gives space and time for the church to do the work that is needed and raise funds.”

The Life Church held a drop-in session on Wednesday for residents to update them about the scheme.