PLANNING enforcement officers have launched an investigation following changes to a listed site without permission.

Plans to change the use of the former St Luke's Church to a shop were refused by the council last month.

Business owner Zholia Alemi hoped that the church could be used for retail purposes having received initial encouragement from planners.

St Luke’s was built in 1893 to serve the growing outer suburb of Sankey Bridges and is a grade II* listed building.

In the decision notice, the council said: "Although the proposed building work causes less than substantial harm to the heritage asset, the scheme does not generate public benefits that outweigh the harm and the proposed use is not considered to be the optimum viable use for the building.

"The part demolition of the boundary wall to accommodate access to the site, also, does not represent the appropriate preservation of the heritage asset."

The council confirmed it is currently investigating following alterations to the site.