PLANS to use an empty church hall as a pre-school facility have been granted permission by the council.

Proposals were submitted by applicant Katie Neil to change the use of the St Teresa's parish hall in Devon Street, Newtown, St Helens

Plans said the building has been "up for sale and vacant" for some time.

A design and access statement, drawn up by RJG Architecture, on behalf of the applicant said: "The site is proposed to be changed from a parish hall to a pre-school facility which will have provision for 40 children and approximately five to six staff.

"There will be no external alterations to the building with the exception of a new sign for the business and tidying up the overgrown areas surrounding the building".

Plans added: "The new owner has taken into account the locality of the building and also the requirements for a pick up and drop off point in close proximity of the pre-school due to the ages of the children that will be attending".

The opening times for the pre-school will be Monday to Friday between 8am and 5.30pm.

The application claims "in terms of noise disturbance for residents, this will be minimal and not at unsociable hours".

It added: "there are a number of spaces directly adjacent to the hall which would be suitable for short term parking.

"The building is for a pre-school and will create a number of jobs for the local community whilst also providing a social care facility for children of pre-school age in the area.

"The proposed facility will have minimal impact on the residential community in terms of noise and hours of operation".

Recommending the plans for approval, case officer Natasha Ayres said in a report: "It is considered that the proposal’s noise impact on the surrounding area would be minimal, and not detrimental to the amenity of the area, nor to the amenity of residents living in the closest properties to the application site".

The proposals were given the go-ahead.