A final bid has been launched to save a historic church in the centre of Barnstaple.The former Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Summerland Street has fallen into disrepair and has been dubbed an eyesore since its closure in 1984. Plans to demolish the Victorian church, consecrated by the Bishop of Plymouth in 1855, were refused at a public enquiry in 1986. In 1989, separate plans to convert the building into offices and parish rooms were both approved by North Devon Council. There have since been calls to de-list the building, and subsequent plans lodged with the council in 2002 were withdrawn before councillors were able to determine the application. The latest planning application to overturn the listing, demolish the church to crypt level and create a community garden was submitted to the council in June last year but has been put on hold. Now, a draft report commissioned by the Barnstaple Buildings Preservation Trust (BBPT) outlines a number of options to restore the 160-year-old Grade II listed building. It also suggests that funding could be available to make them viable. BBPT chairman Jonathan Rodney-Jones said: There are very few Romanesque Victorian churches left in the country, perhaps three or four. As a building its very important a rare old beast and its in pretty good nick considering its been empty for 30 years. Its a really nice space and itd be a real shame to lose it. The options appraisal, produced for the trust by historic building specialist Purcell and paid for with £18,000 funding from Historic England identifies a number of potential uses, including residential, community and commercial. The report warns that significant funding would be needed but concludes: There are options for its reuse which have the potential to attract sufficient grant said to make them viable. The church provides one of the few remaining examples of the earlier 19th century Romanesque Revival and is by far one of the most impressive examples in Devon. It is an interesting building of some architectural and historic quality which should be retained in a new use rather than wholly or partly demolished. The church is owned by the Diocese of Plymouth and administered by the local parish. Jan Szymankiewicz, chairman of the old church committee said the most recent application to part demolish the building and create a community garden had been parked pending the outcome of the report. Weve looked at a range of options, including creating a folly by taking the roof off but the basic problem is that they are not financially viable without external funding. Its been a long-running issue and there have been many attempts to find a satisfactory, cost-effective solution in the past. We have been very patient but like all these things there is a sense of frustration. Its an eyesore many people would like to see solved and we see this as the last throw of the dice. Mr Szymankiewicz said the committee would be waiting to see a copy of the final report before considering the options. He said: The preservation trust believes it can get funding to finance any gaps and we are now waiting for the final report. We want to move forward with a solution but we need to be convinced that any solution is viable and has viable funding options. What do you think? Would you like to see the old church retained or do you think it should be demolished. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at the address on our letters pages.