A FORMER Catholic church is one step closer to be given a new lease of life after councillors backed plans to convert it into an arts centre.

Ewyas Harold group parish council voted unanimously at their September meeting proceed with granting a lease of the Kemble Centre to the Arts and Crafts Community Centre

Negotiations over the future of the former church of St John Kemble located in the centre of Ewyas Harold have been ongoing for the last two years.

The parish council formed a sub-committee headed by councillor Clive Stainton, under the leadership of the chairman Peter Jinman as a result of considerable interest in the project.

Carey Godwin said: “Through their efforts the process has been accelerated to the point that the lease is being prepared.

“Drawings have been completed ready for the planning process for the new building which will be linked to the existing redundant church.

“The Arts and Crafts Community Centre is pending charity status.”

Those working on the project say they are seeking grant funding to help with the new development.

“The new centre will be a major asset to the village for the community as well as for mental health and wellbeing,” Ms Godwin added.

“It will also provide a major arts facility in this area of Herefordshire.”

St John Kemble’s church which first opened in 1972 closed down in 2011.

Since its closure, the parish council has sought to find a way of maintaining the building as a community asset.

In 2016, they explored proposals to convert it into a health and wellbeing centre.