PLANS to turn an empty former clothing store in Wrexham into a Christian faith centre have formally been put forward.

The old Burton store on the corner of Hope Street and High Street in the town centre was bought by the Diocese of St Asaph earlier this year after standing vacant for more than a decade.

The diocese has now applied to Wrexham Council to change the use of the three-storey 1930s building from a retail unit into a resource centre.

It comes after £1.9m was secured from a new evangelism fund set up by the church to attract more young people and families.

Plans set out by church leaders include worship space, training rooms, a kitchen and a community engagement space, as well as a base to support rough sleepers and children left hungry during the school holidays.

Work has already got underway to refurbish the property after window displays were recently put up to inform people of the proposals.

Speaking in August, archdeacon of Wrexham, John Lomas said: “We’re really excited that behind the new window displays, work is getting underway to create a Christian centre that will offer a warm welcome to everyone.

“The three-storey building will include a worship space on the top floor, offices and meeting rooms on the middle floor and hospitality areas on the ground floor.

“The building will be a base for social justice activities such as the church’s work with people who are homeless and children facing holiday hunger.

“Refurbishment work will continue into next year and we anticipate that Hope Street will open in September 2020.”

Before the building was purchased by the diocese it was highlighted as an eyesore in the town centre by the council.

In a report, officers described it as “detrimental” to views of the nearby St Giles’ Parish Church.

The new project to transform its appearance is being run in partnership with existing churches in Wrexham and the Church Revitalisation Trust, which has previously been involved in opening new churches elsewhere.

The plans to change the use of the property will be considered by the local authority at a later date.