Blackburn church leader in unholy row over ring road
THE MINISTER at Blackburn Spiritualist Church claims delays in completing a deal to buy its premises and complete the town’s orbital route were down to the council.
Val Williams resents suggestions that the place of worship held up talks to agree the sale, allowing the Wainwright ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ to finally have a destination, by haggling for extra money.
And she branded Blackburn with Darwen council’s conduct in the negotiations “disgraceful”.
Last week the borough’s executive board approved a relocation deal to buy the St Peter Street church and build them new premises in Montague Street car park at a total cost to the authority of over £500,000. Council leader Kate Hollern and regeneration boss Dave Harling hailed the deal as the final piece of the jigsaw, finally opening the way for the £7million completion of the town’s ring road.
Minister Williams said: “We resent the suggestion we were responsible for any delays. Any dilly-dallying was down to the council. We were not asking for any money. We have to answer to the National Spiritualist Union, our Church members and the worshippers who built the church in 1901.
“We have got to get everything right.
“We agreed the terms of the compulsory purchase order in June last year and only objected when they offered us a single storey building with no car parking.
“Our current building is two storey and we need two storeys for worship, meeting rooms and other purposes.
“They offered us no car parking either. We have now got what we needed. The council’s behaviour has been disgraceful and they have constantly delayed things.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council said it could not comment on commercial decisions.