Bistrot Pierre, the Livingbridge-backed group, has confirmed it will open a site in Preston next spring.

In a first for the 21-strong group, it will be opening a 19th Century Baptist Church, which has stood in the town centre for almost 160 years, creating a unique dining experience for its fourth restaurant to open in the north west.

“We’re very excited to be opening in such an incredible space,” said Rob Beacham, co-owner of Bistrot Pierre – the restaurant group he created more than 20 years ago along with school friend John Whitehead.

“It’s a prime location – opposite the popular Fishergate Shopping Centre, adjacent to the busy train station and within walking distance of Preston Guild Hall; we couldn’t have asked for a better site.

“No two bistrots in France are the same and this is an ethos we endeavour to encapsulate when designing our own bistrots. We ensure that each of our restaurants have their own local character and reflect their surroundings.

“We’ve never opened a bistrot in a church before so I thoroughly look forward to supporting its restoration and breathing a new lease of life into such a fabulous old building.

“The beautiful high ceilings and intricate window details are features I’m particularly excited about – it’s going to be a breath-taking space,” added Rob.

The Fishergate bistrot will seat more than 200 diners – with space for 164 customers inside and 50 outside.

The new venture will bring 50 jobs to the town, with the deal being completed by Neil Bowler, director at Jenics.

He said: “We worked with Le Bistrot Pierre in Altrincham and Southport and knew Preston would also work well. The search for the right site took some time but this is a fantastic building in a great location and we look forward to seeing them trading.”