AN HISTORIC building may yet have a chance to be saved for the community's use, despite residents' fears that it would be demolished and replaced by houses.

Residents urged the Northampton Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust, which owns Temperance Hall in Flackwell Heath, to keep the building for the community's use after they heard it was earmarked for closure.

The building dates from the 1880s and is used as St Francis Church.

Villagers had been worried that Flackwell Heath could lose an important community building if it was sold to developers.

The spokesman from the diocese said: "The Diocese of Northampton has decided reluctantly that the little church at Flackwell Heath must close by Christmas this year.

"The building is owned by the Diocesan Charitable Trust and the Diocesan Trustee has a duty to ensure that the assets of the trust are applied for its charitable purposes."

He said community groups can write to the diocese if they want to keep the building for their use but added: "It should be stressed that whilst the Diocesan Trustee will be open to bona fide offers to preserve the building this offer cannot be kept open indefinitely."

He said the building was being closed because the diocese needed £50,000 to repair it and they had also taken into account the supply of priests in the future.

Pat Townsend, whose father Reg Wilks wrote "Flackwell Heath Now and Then," told the Free Press that her father always told village newcomers that the Temperance Hall was Flackwell Heath's first community centre.

If anybody wants to purchase the building for local use they should write to the Diocesan Finance Office, Bishop's House, Marriott Street, Northampton NN2 6AW.