A Barrow church was having a £430,000 makeover in 2006.

St Paul's Anglican Church, on the corner of Hawcoat Lane and Abbey Road, was first built in the 1800s from handsome red sandstone, but there was not enough cash to build the full-size church envisaged at the time, said vicar the Rev Derek Price.

In the 1960s the church was extended, but in a modern style which included a flat slab of roof at the front and no sandstone.

In 2006, as part of a £430,000 reordering and extension, St Paul's had seen the old concrete front demolished and a new extension with a traditional roof and new side extensions taking its place.

Mr Price had taken over the church four-and-a-half years ago. He said the extension would include a sandstone relief and wooden-framed windows to make the modern part harmonise better with the original church.

Phase one of the work had included taking out 10 rows of pews at the back of the church so the space could be used more flexibly for other functions.

A second phase of work in the future would remove all the pews from the church.

The existing work was intended to provide, among other facilities, a commercial kitchen and a lounge and a parish office.

A formal launch was set to take place early in 2007. Mr Price said planners were thrilled by the scheme because it helped marry the old church with the modern extension.

Mr Price said of the changes: "People are beginning to get excited about the changes and saying 'Ooh, what is going on here?'

"The reaction has been positive, which is very encouraging."

He said the former church design, including the pews, had made it inflexible and only suitable for services.

The work was being carried out by Furness builders Albion Brothers.