CATHOLICS in Accrington are set to get a brand-new church after it was confirmed that St Anne's will be demolished.
Although there is no official date for the church to be knocked down, a senior cleric has confirmed the replacement church will be rebuilt on its Cobham Road site.
It is thought the new building will also be used by the wider community, open to a variety of groups to use for secular activities.
Churchgoers at St Anne's hope this development will put extra cash in the church coffers and increase the number attending mass.
Harry Emmett, social committee chairman, said: "I look forward to the church playing a more active part in the life of Accrington. I think a brand-new church will raise the profile of St Anne's if it's a multi-use centre, and we could become more involved in secular issues."
"I think it could work both ways with more people coming to St Anne's. The new church will be extremely costly so increased attendances will be the way to pay for it."
No details have been released about the new building's construction or how the Diocese of Salford plans to finance it.
The move is apparently unconnected to the ongoing investigation into possible ways to reorganise parishes and priests within the diocese. Father Michael Walsh, spokesman for Bishop Terence Brain, said St Anne's was always going to get a new church.
He said: "There has been a declaration of intent, although there is no timetable for work and architects haven't even been appointed yet so I can't speculate about dates and details."
"We are looking at various possibilities throughout the diocese, and 15 or 16 churches have been earmarked for closure."
The news was met with confusion by some parishioners who said they had not been told the new church would definitely be built.
They refused to comment until parish priest, Fr Seamus Quigley, had confirmed the news. He was unavailable for comment when the Observer went to press.