AFTER standing empty for decades, the city's historic former vinegar works is now structurally sound and ready to be transformed into a church and community hub.

Hope Church leaders Jim Harper and Richard Thomas say the first phase of the restoration is nearing completion.

Old rotten timbers have been replaced and treated for dry and wet rot, there is a new roof, the brickwork has been cleaned and new windows and internal staircases have been installed.

The next phase involves installing a lift, disabled toilets, kitchen and upgraded floor.

Hope Church has been working to re-open The Granary, in St Martin’s Quarter, Worcester, after gaining planning permission in June 2016.

Mr Harper said the ambition of the church is to run the building as a ‘multi-use venue.’

The community pastor added: “Our vision is to use the building as a tool to build community, help the vulnerable and further enrich the culture of our great city.”

Mr Thomas, of St Peter’s, Worcester, said the top floor of the building will also be available for business conferences and meetings in the week.

He added that the two middle levels could be used for community purposes, while the ground floor will become a kitchen and potentially a coffee lounge.

The old Hill, Evans & Co vinegar works was built around 1830 and became the biggest in the world.