Plans have been submitted to Carrick district council to convert Baldhu Church into a home with studio use.

The building, erected in 1848, was largely unused after the 1960s and made redundant in 1987. Since then it has been considered as a venue for a cultural centre with a memorial garden to the Lobb family plant collectors, as a music recording studio, and there has been some interest in buying the property for residential use.

But this is the first full-scale planning application which Kea parish councillors have been asked to consider for the listed building.

Presented by architect J Roberts, from Carnon Downs, the applicant is Stuart Levens, of Gloucestershire, who is known for other English church conversions.

The scheme is seen as an extremely costly venture in view of the derelict state of the building, it having been subjected to much vandalism over the years. On one occasion the church bells were being removed by thieves when they were dropped the full height of the tower, smashing through and destroying the timber floor below.

The building and its curtilage are to remain largely unaltered from the outside.

Pipistrelle bats seen in the area are assured of their roost in the belfry at the base of the spire, as this will remain unconverted and separate from the home.

Kea councillors said they felt that neighbours would be pleased to hear of the conversion as they had experienced much trouble and disturbance from vandals and others who had abused the churchyard. They have recommended approval.