Plans are submitted for former job centre building

The Lowergate building where Clitheroe's job centre used to be based.
The Lowergate building where Clitheroe's job centre used to be based.

An application by a church and charitable organisation to change the use of the building that was formerly home to Clitheroe’s job centre has been submitted to planning chiefs.

The Salvation Army, which wants to use the former job centre building on Lowergate for worship and as a community centre, has submitted plans to Ribble Valley Borough Council. The application also states that the building will be used for both storage and offices.

In the autumn of 2014, the Department for Work and Pensions announced proposals to close the Lowergate job centre meaning that the 200 people who used it would have to travel to Blackburn.

At that time, Captain Elizabeth Smith, of the Salvation Army Corps in Clitheroe, who helped launch a weekly job club in 2013, said: “We believe Clitheroe needs more help for the unemployed, not less.

“If the job centre was to close we feel it would have a wide reaching affect on the community and only make it harder for some to break out of the cycle of unemployment.”

However, following a four-week consultation and fierce lobbying by local residents, councillors, trade union representatives and Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans, the DWP decided to continue to deliver a job centre service from the town.

It also announced that it would look at other options on how to deliver the service locally.

And in March 2016, it was announced that Clitheroe JobCentre Plus, which had been based on Lowergate for decades, would move to Ribble Valley Borough Council’s offices in Church Walk later that year.