ACCRINGTON'S historic Sacred Heart Church is to be closed and demolished later this year.
The decision to knock down the imposing Blackburn Road building, opened in 1869, is the outcome of a year-long review of Catholic churches in the town. The dramatic news was announced by the Bishop of Salford, the Rt Rev Terence Brain, in a statement delivered from church pulpits on Sunday.
The parish priest, Father Francis Wadsworth, said that his parishioners had been left devastated by the news.
He said: "No-one likes to see a church pulled down, especially someone like myself who is involved in spreading the gospel. My parishioners are saddened and upset. They are comparing this to a death in the family, for which they must now mourn.''
A spokesman for the Salford Diocese revealed that consideration was being given to building sheltered housing on the site after the church's closure in June. A small chapel may also be constructed there.
- For the full story, see this week's Observer