THE site of a derelict Selby church is set to be given a new lease of life as developers prepare to build new social housing in its place.

The former St Richard’s Church in Selby has been empty since Christmas 2008, and now a new £1.3 million social housing scheme will see 11 homes and a new mission hall built.

Work on the scheme will begin this year and see five two-bedroom houses, four three-bedroom houses and two two-bedroom flats built at the site, near the Abbots Road estate.

Funding for the project has been awarded to Yorkshire Housing by the Homes and Communities agency, and the mission will be run by staff from Selby Abbey.

Paul Atkins, senior development project manager at Yorkshire Housing, said: “It is thanks to great partnership working that we are able to deliver these sustainable homes that meet the specific needs of the local community.

“In particular I would like to thank Selby District Council and the Selby Abbey team whose enthusiasm and support was instrumental in the development and planning stages of the site.”

Lindy Wainwright, church warden of the abbey, said the new mission hall would benefit the whole community.

She said: “We’re very pleased that there will once again be a Christian presence in the Abbots Road estate.

“We want the mission hall to be used not only for worship, but also to serve the local community, and offer the space for groups to meet together.”

It is hoped all the homes and the mission hall will be complete and ready for use by Christmas 2011, and work is expected to begin on the site within the next three months.