Residents’ fears over church ‘accommodation’ plan

Rosehill Baptist Church.
Rosehill Baptist Church.
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A former old people’s home in the grounds of a Burnley church could be converted into accommodation once again in a bid to generate much needed funds.

Plans have been submitted to Burnley Council to convert part of the building at Rosehill Baptist Church into a house of multiple occupancy with nine bedrooms.

The proposals have been made by Leroy Bowtell, minister at the church.

People living near the site have already raised concerns about the building becoming a hostel or a women’s refuge and the potential for anti-social behaviour or noise.

But Mr Bowtell, who runs a similar scheme in Nelson, said the accommodation will be of a high standard and will be used to house working people in their 20s and 30s who are saving up for a mortgage but do not want to spend money renting a property.

“The church is in a situation where it needs to find income streams. Some of the older members of the church who have died used to donate £5 a week and, when you have got 20 people doing that, it’s a lot of money.

“Costs also go up and as a church we are seeing where we can get another income stream.”

Mr Bowtell said potential uses such as a women’s refuge and hostel for people with drug and alcohol problems were ruled out so as not to jeopardise the church’s existing community work with families and young children.

The development would include nine bedrooms, already in place from when the building was a home for the elderly, lounge, bathroom and kitchen. There would also be a new entrance lobby. It is due to be discussed at a meeting of Burnley Council tonight.