Plans to convert a former electrical store in Newry into a church have been given the go-ahead.
The development – at Catherine Street in the city – is understood to cost close to £500,000.
Armagh I revealed just last month that a planning application had been submitted by Newry Baptist Church for a new church building.
And this saw a proposal for a change of use for Murphy’s Electrical store, which was based at a prominent corner position, at Catherine Street in the city.
The business was founded in 1972 but the outlet at Catherine Street closed about five months ago.
The applicant sought approval for a place of worship and ancillary facilities, submitting detailed proposals to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for consideration.
It indicated that the entire ground floor would be given over for “church purposes” – to include a main worship area, as well as a Sunday School room, a creche, and what is described as social space.
Meanwhile, a pastor’s room and office, as well as a children’s activity and social area, and a small meeting room, would be located on the first floor.
The proposals attracted one response during the public consultation and neighbour notification period, and that came from Casey & Casey Solicitors, who wrote in support of the proposals.
The practice – also based on Catherine Street – said it would “fully support the application” and they “look forward to welcoming the church”.
Planners, in reommending approval, were of the opinion that “a church at this location would help support and sustain a vibrant town centre”.
They concluded that the surrounding off-street car parking and public car parks were “considered sufficient to sustain car users using the building”.
And officials also reported to council confirmation from the agent that the “appearance of the building will remain the same with no additional floorspace proposed”.
The applicant has now been informed of the positive decision.