Former Northampton social club may become a church

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A former social club in Northampton town centre could become a church if a planning application is approved.

The former Twentieth Century Club and Institute, at the corner of Sheep Street and Lady’s Lane, is the subject of an application by the Central Vineyard church.

The Christian organisation holds services at Northampton High School and runs Northampton Food Bank, and wants to combine both in one building.

The application says: “The goal of the church is for this building to be a vibrant community space that will continue to aid the church’s growth, development and worship but also bring value to the town and be a place for a number of different people groups to find the help and support needed.

“The proposed use would be of great benefit to the people of Northampton and we hope will be welcomed for the positive contribution it will make to many people’s lives.”

The two-storey building - which was the subject of a failed auction bid by the borough council last year when it was being considered as part of the Greyfriars development - was last used as a charity day centre.

Previous to that it was a club called Club Player, and before that the social club.

Central Vineyard said it had been looking for offices and extra storage space for the Food Bank for some time.

The food bank, which feeds 9,000 people a year, is run by the charity set up by the church called Re:store.

Central Vineyard church also provides debt advice, drop-ins for vulnerable people, and an allotment project.

The basement level of the building would potentially house a kitchen where people would be taught to cook on a budget and gain a food hygiene qualification.

Church services would be carried out on the same level.