Buildings within a church courtyard in Malmesbury are set to be demolished and replaced with a new parish hall.

Wiltshire Council has approved a planning application that stated the outbuildings at St Aldhelm’s Church were “no longer fit for purpose.”

The site sits on the east side of the Cross Hayes car park, which was previously a livestock market.

The work will provide a new hall, which should seat approximately 60 people, for parish, pastoral and social activities, and to serve as a base for outreach to the local community.

The application noted: “St Aldhelm’s RC Church has a thriving church community, growing in numbers, which would benefit from a purpose-built venue for additional functions outside of worship services.”

It added: “A new parish hall with modern facilities would enable the church congregation to meet in large and small groups, and also welcome visitors from the wider community of Malmesbury to enjoy social activities on a regular basis.

“This new facility would serve as an overflow for large services, and as a convenient space to gather, prepare and socialise before and after services.”

The outbuildings that are set to be demolished are those on the north side of the courtyard.

They were converted from school lavatories into garages and a parish meeting room with a kitchenette in the sixties.

According to the application, they lack modern standards of insulation, heating and other services.

The fabric of both the buildings is reported to be deteriorating.

The plans read: “The palette of materials for the new parish hall have been selected from a study of the contextual materials recorded in the local vicinity to include natural slate roof tiles with lead ridge and hips, exposed timber lintels, window and glazed door frames and external timber louvres, plus coursed squared rubble stone walls with quoins to external corners and openings.

“The new black powder coated metal rainwater goods will match existing, and landscaping will include natural 8 stone paving to suit the stone walls of the surrounding buildings.”

The application concluded: “The new building respects the historically significant features and settings of the church, the presbytery, the stone boundary wall, and also the more extensive streetscape of Cross Hayes itself.”

The site, including Cross Hayes House, was sold to the Diocese of Clifton in the 1860s in order to establish a Roman Catholic Mission in Malmesbury.

St Aldhelm’s Church itself was opened in 1875.