Plans submitted to knock down two abandoned Wigan church buildings

Two very different-looking religious landmarks could be wiped from the Wigan skyline in the next three years.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 11:59 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 12:00 pm
Exterior of St Edward's Church, Scot Lane, Wigan - which is due to be demolished.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool will this month be submitting applications to the local authority to have the now redundant former churches of St Edward in Newtown and St William at Ince demolished.

Services were last held at the contrasting buildings - the first a modern concrete structure, the other a more traditional red-brick building - in late 2017 after a major reorganisation.

A letter from the archbishop Malcolm McMahon was read to the congregations at Mass about the closures, provoking anger and accusations of “betrayal” among congregations whose buildings were to be shut.

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Elsewhere, though, there was delight as efforts to keep several landmark churches in the borough open ended in success, particularly at St Patrick’s in Scholes.

The Archdiocese’s presence in the borough is now to be made up of four parishes, with one existing set-up remaining and three new ones being created.

There is a St William’s Parish using the churches of St John’s and St Patrick’s. St Cuthbert’s and Sacred Heart formed a new parish called St Edward’s and the parish of St Jude and St Aidan was formed with both churches remaining open. The parish of St Mary remained unchanged.

Notices have now appeared outside the two buildings informing the public of the intention to demolish.

And a parishioner has also urged any people with connections to St Edward’s to get in touch with either St Cuthbert’s or Sacred Heart if there are any items still inside the building, such as plaques to the Stations of the Cross in remembrance to deceased family members, which they would want to retrieve before the bulldozers move in.

That does not look like an imminent event though.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said: “Both of these buildings have been standing empty for more than two years now and it looks likely that they will come down, but there is no great urgency.

“The applications will go in this month and, if approved, there are then three years within which demolition would take place. It’s too early to say what would become of the land although the St Edward’s site might be sold.”