One of Chester’s oldest churches has been listed as one of the top 10 endangered buildings in the UK.
The building, which is more than 140-years-old, is a Grade II* church with listed interior including wall paintings and stained glass windows by leading artists.
Since the congregation merged with another church, it has been going through a closure process.
However, the Victorian Society warned the building was ‘too important’ to be left to deteriorate with no plans for its future.
David Marshall, a spokesman for the Diocese of Chester, explained when a church is closed for public worship, responsibility for its care and maintenance passes to the Diocese.
He said: “The Diocese of Chester will be assuming responsibility for St Paul’s and the Church Commissioners and the Diocese will be actively seeking an alternative use for the building which preserves it properly.
“The building is highly listed and any future use has to respect this fully.
“St Paul’s Chester is an important building, noted for its fine interior and its striking position on the city skyline.
“However, the congregation of St Paul’s parish have found the building increasingly difficult to use for their regular activities, including Sunday worship.
“We have already had several meeting with Historic England, who are fully aware of the situation, and we look forward to the contributions of others – including the Victorian Society – to that process.
“Please be assured that the Diocese is fully aware of the importance of St Paul’s and we shall be doing our utmost to ensure its preservation for future generations.”
The congregation has asked that public worship should move to the nearby church of St Luke’s, and that St Paul’s be closed for regular public worship.
Mr Marshall added: “Together with the Church Commissioners, the Diocese of Chester is now making arrangements for this to happen.”
Victorian Society director, Christopher Costello, said: “Retaining historic buildings like those in the top 10 is vital to maintaining local identity and creating places in which people want to invest, live and work.”