A CHURCH could be transformed into a community theatre, if plans are given the go-ahead.

Heaton resident Robert Peale has applied to turn the disused St Simon and St Jude’s Church in Rishton Lane, Great Lever, into a theatre for the use of local amateur dramatic and operatic societies.

In a statement to the council, Mr Peale’s agent, Good and Tillotson, said it thinks think the building could also be of great benefit to the surrounding community.

The letter says: “There are a number of societies in the local area, who previously had bases in church halls, or similar buildings, who now do not have theatres in which to perform within the town due to the closure of many community-type buildings.

“It is hoped that a dancing group will use the building for lessons and rehearsals, as well as using the theatre itself for performances. Other possible uses may include pre-school or after school clubs, use by other community organisations.”

The plans have attracted one objection from a Rishton Lane resident, who says the church is a symbol of Christianity and British religion and therefore should remain a place of worship.

The church was built in 1900 by prolific Bolton architect Richard Knill Freeman, but is not listed and has been closed for a number of years.

The building is up for sale for £150,000 and is currently under offer If successful, the venue would open from 7.30am until 10pm Monday to Friday, with irregular theatre performances running until 11.30pm.

Councillors will vote on the plans at this Thursday’s meeting of the planning committee.