A CHURCH centre, described as “no longer financially viable”, could be demolished and replaced by new homes to help fund a main church transformation.

Plans have been submitted to demolish the St Peter’s Parish Church Centre building in Chapel Road, Ashley Cross, and replace it with six houses – with the backing of the landowner and main church vicar.

Situated less than half a mile away from the main St Peter’s Church, the hall has been used as a community space since its erection in the mid-1970s.

In recent years, however, it has been operating at a loss along with significant building repairs needed. It is also “significantly underused” with several hall booking slots being unfilled every week.

Bournemouth Echo: Plan for six homes at the former St Peter's Church Centre in Chapel Road, Poole. Picture: Marlow ArchitectsPlan for six homes at the former St Peter's Church Centre in Chapel Road, Poole. Picture: Marlow Architects (Image: Marlow Architects)

As such, applicant Ashdrew Homes has negotiated an option to purchase the land from the owner, Parochial Church Council. The owner is understood to fully endorse the application, as all the proceeds of the proposed sale will be spent on the major church refurbishment project.

In order to combat the financial losses of the church centre, while negating the loss a community space, St Peter’s Church vicar Reverend Mike Trotman hopes to transform the main church into a multi-purpose arts venue and community hub in the heart of Ashley Cross as well as its use as a place of worship.

Revd Trotman told the Echo: “The proposed residential redevelopment of the church centre at Chapel Road will help to enable St Peter’s Church in Parkstone to be transformed into a greatly improved, vibrant community hub and multi-purpose arts venue, in addition to being a beautiful sacred space.

Bournemouth Echo: St Peter's Parkstone Parish Church. Picture: GoogleSt Peter's Parkstone Parish Church. Picture: Google (Image: Google)

“Our initial project ideas for St Peter’s include a new servery and café area, enhanced storage facilities, flexible meeting rooms and also a large, refurbished space in the nave for the wider community to use.”

Planner Darryl Howells added: “The uses of the community hall are not being lost, merely relocated to a new venue with greater potential.”

The proposed development at Chapel Lane is for six two-bedroom homes of traditional design, each with one car parking space. There will also be a new public footpath around the edge of the site.

The application is still live on BCP Council's online planning portal.