Plans have been lodged to turn a Workington landmark church, which has stood empty for four years, into a unique house.

Darren Ward, from Red Raven Design Ltd, is the agent for the application to convert Holy Trinity church, Northside Road, on behalf of Whitehaven couple Mr and Mrs Southward.

The design statement proposes to make use of and retain the existing structures as much as possible.

In 2018 local businessman Anthony McGuckin looked into the possibility of using the church as a cultural centre and wedding venue, but plans fell through.

He said: "It's a real shame it's not going to be used for the community when it was built for the community."

"To turn a beautiful building into a house is sacrilege. It just wasn't possible for us to proceed, it wasn't to be, but it will be a shame to turn it into a house.

It would be nice to see it used as a community building."

Mr Ward said: "It is a shame that the building can't be used for community use, but society has changed and the property has been on the market for four or five years with no viable proposals, so the change into a house ensures the building will be retained for good and kept as a local landmark.

"It will still look exactly like a church, just a door at the rear added for a fire escape, other than that it will still read as a major landmark and all of the interior will be kept as well."

Workington Town Councillor for Northside, Beth Dixon, said: "The other plan fell through which was a shame, but I would be more upset if the building was knocked down and three houses built on it. If the building is staying as it is and gets used as a unique house they should go for it.

"It would be a shame to lose the building which is one of the oldest churches in the area.

"To me it should be used. If it's not used it will become more derelict and no-one will want it."

The property dates back to 1891 and ceased to be a place of worship in September 2015, after falling congregation numbers and heating problems were behind the decision to close the church.

When the church was marketed earlier this year chartered surveyors Edwin Thompson said it had an asking price of £75,000.

Plans for the conversion can be found on Allerdale Council's website.

Any comments on the application should be made to Allerdale Council by October 1.