Church for booze street?

Scenesetters'The former Rileys snooker club in St Thomas Street which is set to become a church.'Picture by Neil Silk  121615a'18/04/12
Scenesetters'The former Rileys snooker club in St Thomas Street which is set to become a church.'Picture by Neil Silk 121615a'18/04/12

A FORMER snooker club in the centre of a busy Scarborough drinking circuit could be transformed into a ‘church’.

Plans have been submitted to revamp the old Riley’s Snooker Club, in St Nicholas Street, in to a place of worship.

The building, sandwiched between two popular bars, The Barbican and Blue Lounge, sits on a well used route for drinkers in the town centre.

However, subject to planning permission, it could soon become the new home of Kingdom Faith Yorkshire.

The Christian church group, which has 150 members in Scarborough, currently worships at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

After a growth in numbers in recent years the church is now looking for its own dedicated centre. If the plans go ahead Kingdom Faith’s Scarborough Sunday Service could be held only a matter of hours after the departure of late night revellers from the surrounding street.

However pastors within the church say the building is perfectly placed for the work it does in the community.

Kingdom Faith is the main body behind Scarborough’s Street Angels scheme, which puts voluntary ‘wardens’ on the street at night to help those vulnerable or in need of help over the weekend.

Senior pastor Paul Abell said: “We are very excited to be in that street. “The Street Angels will be able to have a base now in St Nicholas Street and St Thomas Street. They can have a safe haven to work from, and somewhere to give support to those who are vulnerable and sometimes just need somewhere to sit, take some time out and have some water or a cup of tea.

“The church will be open during all those hours.”

It is proposed the new church will include a lounge area and creche, a youth area complete with games consoles and pool tables, a coffee area, a worship and teaching area, and a Street Angels ‘home base’.

Kingdom Faith has been operating in Scarborough since 1993 when a small number of people met regularly at Falsgrave Community Resource Centre.

The Church then grew, and moved its worship to Scarborough Library in Vernon road in 2007, before moving to the theatre in 2011.

Mr Abell said: “We have been looking for a building for about four years.

“We have always wanted to be in the town centre. We do a lot of work with the police and the council, and have a vision that the town centre is somewhere good to be, somewhere lively and happy.

“We want to help create more things for families and youngsters to do in that area that don’t involve drink.”

The building where Kingdom Faith plans to move to was home to Riley’s Snooker Club for three years.

Riley’s closed in March 2009, reopening in June of that year as another snooker club named Chalky’s.

The premises have been empty ever since Chalky’s closed, less than a year after opening.

Mr Abell said if planning permission is granted he hopes to have the new church open by the summer.