PLANS to convert a historic former church building into six flats have been given permission despite limited outdoor amenity space.

Proposals for six flats at the former Providence Baptist Church on Clipsley Lane, Haydock, were sent to the council.

A previous planning application for three studios and three flats at the site had been submitted to St Helens Council in 2020 but was later withdrawn.

The applicants have sent in new proposals last year for the conversion of the historic building.

The church, which dates back to around 1876, has been empty for a number of years.

The derelict building was purchased in an auction in June 2019.

A design and access statement, prepared by ArchiPhonic, on behalf of applicants Windsor Property Holdings Ltd, said: "The existing building on site is approximately 11m tall and is essentially an empty shell with temporary study walls and intermediate floors inside".

It added that in pre-application advice "the response from the Local Planning Authority was that a residential development on the site is in principle acceptable subject to other material considerations".

The document concluded: "The proposal aims to bring a dilapidated building back into use as modern residential accommodation.

Plans said the revised proposal had responded to the feedback from the previous pre-application advice by seeking to apply minimal external interventions to the existing building shell, altering the existing property through a series of discrete manipulations and permutations in response to the surrounding context and its original built form.

"The proposal involves minimal, if any external alterations to the existing building and as such the integrity of the building would remain as existing", it was added.

Case officer Jennifer Bolton noted in a report that the proposals would "fail to provide 20m2 of outdoor amenity space for each flat that is required" by the 'New Residential Development SPD'.

It was said this is "due to the limited outdoor space available and the requirement for parking" and "given the character of the property the options for balconies or roof terraces is also not considered suitable".

However, the report added: "Whilst this is not ideal, the site is within 20 minute walking distance of Lyme and Wood Country Park and the regeneration of this non designated heritage asset into residential accommodation should be given more weight in the planning balance".

Approval was recommended and the plans have been given the official go-ahead.