PERSHORE'S St Agatha's Hall could be knocked down and the site sold for housing to fund the new town hall.

Last Thursday Wychavon District Council's planning committee gave outline permission for the hall to be demolished and replaced with housing, of which a third would be social housing.

The town council can now sell the Head Street site and put cash from the sale towards re-fitting the old High Street post office, which it bought earlier this year for about £180,000.

Acting mayor, Councillor John Grantham welcomed the decision and said: "I'm delighted, it means we can move forward."

Although not a listed building, St Agatha's has been a well-known feature since it was built as a mission hall at the end of the 19th century.

Between 1974 and 1991 it was owned and used by the district council as its main committee chamber.

Since the town council took it over it has been a public meeting place and used by various community groups.

In its application to demolish the hall, the town council confirmed eight groups met there regularly now.

Recognising the hall's community value, coun Grantham said: "We're looking at accommodating all the people who use St Agatha's in the new town hall."

In its application, the town council pledged that none of the hall's existing users would be forced out, as it plans two large interconnecting rooms for hire in the re-developed post office.

The planned re-development is expected to cost about £500,000.

If all goes ahead, the post office will be known as the Town Hall, and will include a new council office and chamber, a tourist information centre and the heritage centre, which is currently housed next door to the council's present base at Bridge Street's Belle House. The plans are likely to go on show before going in to Wychavon.