PLANS to turn an industrial unit into a church and community hub have been overwhelmingly welcomed by members of the community.

The proposal to create 'one of the largest meeting venues in Christchurch' in Airfield Way has been put forward to council planners by GodFirst Church.

The scheme includes a place of worship, auditorium and meeting rooms, training centre and day nursery.

The unit is currently used by Curtiss Wight, who have moved to new premises at Bournemouth Airport.

Comments are now closed on the application, but dozens of people have thrown their weight behind the proposal.

One organisation, Water Lily Project, a Christian charity which helps vulnerable women, said: "Glad to hear of this initiative as many of our clients live in the Somerford area and will be able to use this resource and get involved in community life more."

Christchurch Foodbank, based at St Joseph's church, also said: "We at Christchurch Foodbank fully support this application. We know the importance of working together as a community to assist those in our local area. Bringing residents, families, businesses and the community together can only be a positive thing.

"We see this as a positive move forward, providing community space and resources to benefit the community of Christchurch."

And the Reverend Canon Charles Stewart from The Priory Church has also backed the scheme.

Writing to the council with his support, he said the church has shown itself to be "totally committed to the town and its citizens."

He added: "They have demonstrated this through the provision of youth and children's facilities, regular support of town-wide events as well as a rich variety of people that represent GodFirst who are seeking to positively affect the culture and feel of our town."

GodFirst is a member of Evangelical Alliance and was previously known as the Family Church.

For the past 20 years they have been looking for premises, and came close to buying the former Dreams warehouse in Wilverley Road in 2013.

Currently they meet at the Regent Centre and Highcliffe Day Centre with around 300 people in the congregations on a weekly basis.

The scheme also includes a ‘Man Shed’ to provide space and equipment for isolated and lonely people to get together to work on projects and also train people for employment.

It is hoped up to 25 people would be employed at the new centre as well.