A CHURCH in Barrow which has been abandoned for four years has been given the go-ahead to be be transformed into sheltered homes for adults with disabilities.

St Lukes church, in Roose Road, Barrow, hasn't been used for regular services since 2008 when structural problems and high maintenance bills forced it to close. A special final service was held outside the church in February 2012.

However, Barrow Borough Council's planning committee unanimously agreed for the site to be demolished so that new housing can be built.

Two residential buildings made up of 16 one bedroom apartments and a single storey bungalow will be developed, with each dwelling containing 24-hour on-site home support.

The homes will be specifically designed for vulnerable adults with learning and physical disabilities and the support will be given by Lifeways, one of the country's leading providers of support services.

Councillor John Murphy said: "It is very comforting to know that diocese are really supporting those who are less fortunate by using this good piece of land to help adults with disabilities.

"They could have made a lot of money by building four or five bedroom houses but they chose not as they wanted to do something which would really help the community.

"People with social and mental issues will really benefit from this place and as a council we are keen to make sure that this development gets underway as soon as possible."

Councillor Ann Thurlow echoed Mr Murphy's thoughts, as she said: "I think it's a very good decision, the building looked a right mess. This will be a great use of the site and will provide support to those who need it."