A CHURCH building could be knocked down to make way for a block of flats for over-55s.

St Columba RC Church in Ripley Street, which closed in 2017, would be demolished and 24 "independent living" apartments would be built in its place if the plans are approved.

Non-for-profit housing association Mosscare St Vincent's has submitted an application for the proposed development in Hall i' th' Wood, with plans drawn up by JDA Architects.

They said: "Extra Care housing is a growing response to the diverse needs and aspirations of an ageing population. It is often a more suitable housing alternative to residential care.

"There is also a growing movement towards age-friendly communities. [These] schemes aim to provide smaller accommodation for older people to downsize into, while promoting independence and housing choice. The designs aim to respect the resident’s dignity and privacy and break down the institutional barriers often associated with over 55’s housing."

The proposed three-storey building would have a mixture of one-bedroom and two-bedroom flats as well as a communal garden space.

A total of seven units would be priced at "affordable rent" rates with shared ownership options available.

There would be 17 parking spaces including a disability-friendly spot.

But Crompton councillors have been contacted by residents concerned about parking given the site's proximity to Canon Slade School.

Residents have also raised concerns about the loss of a woodland play area at the site which neighbours St Columba RC Primary School.

Some are also worried about the impact of the proposal on "stretched" GP services.

The catholic church held its last mass in November 2017 following a review of parish structures by the Diocese of Salford.

After consultation, it was decided that the parishes of St John The Evangelist in Bromley Cross, St Brandon in Harwood and St Columba would be merged.

The three will be amalgamated to form a new parish, which will be called Corpus Christi, Bolton.