PLANS to create a new church hall to replace the previous one which was ravaged by a large fire have been drawn up.

The former church hall the United Reformed Church on Derwent Road, Haresfinch was destroyed after an "arson" in February 2018.

Proposals have been drawn up to create a single-storey building, with associated stores and ancillary rooms linked to the existing church.

The former hall was also home to the Derwent Road Playgroup, parent and toddler groups, local Guides and Brownies groups, the St Helens Gospel Choir and Slimming World.

Reverend Bill Wright, interim moderator at the Derwent Road church, described the arson attack as "a serious blow to the whole community."

Following the blaze, residents left floral tributes and messages expressing their grief and upset at losing the building which was at their heart of their community life.

Plans for the new hall state the former building formed "was at the heart of the community and offered a space for social clubs and societies to meet as well as being the home of a popular play group".

The proposals are to replace the destroyed church hall with "a building of similar size and scale on the footprint of the former building" which will "serve the community".

Plans add that although exact opening times are to be agreed, it is thought that the hall would probably be open "during the day and about three evenings Monday to Friday".

It may also "be hired out for parties some Saturdays".

Opening times would probably be 9am to noon, 1pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm.

Plans add: "The redevelopment of the site is very much longed for and the local community are looking forward to seeing the former church hall replaced".

Public consultation on the application for the new church hall lasts until Wednesday, August 28.