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Plans to turn church hall into bungalows rejected

PUBLISHED: 15:42 11 March 2019

The Lighthouse in Attleborough, whose owners had hoped to turn into three bungalows. Picture: Google

The Lighthouse in Attleborough, whose owners had hoped to turn into three bungalows. Picture: Google

Archant

Plans to replace a church hall with three bungalows were rejected after concerns about the loss of a community facility were raised.

The owners, Christ Community Church, had applied for outline permission to change the church hall on Hargham Road into bungalows to help raise funds for a new, larger church elsewhere in the town.

However, objections about the loss of a community facility were raised by councillors and the public, leading to the plans being rejected by the Breckland District Council planning committee.

It also emerged in the meeting the community are putting together a bid to purchase the hall as a community asset.

Councillor Adrian Stasiak spoke against the plans and highlighted its use as a community facility for the elderly in the area.

He said: “This building is well used by the community both young and old for a number of years. I am told a bid is being put together to buy the whole building. This building is a community asset.”

The mayor of Attleborough, Vera Dale, also spoke in favour of refusing the application.

She said: “It is in an area where a lot of elderly people use the hall as a meeting place.

“The Neighbourhood Plan identifies that we have not got enough community spaces and if this can be transferred to a community asset it could be a good thing.”

The agent, Michael Marshall, spoke on behalf of the applicant and said it was not correct to describe the church as a community facility as it is run and operated by the church as a private business.

As part of the plans for the church, the owners said the planning permission would be used to increase the value of the plot in order to fund a mortgage for a larger piece of land elsewhere in the town.

They said it was their intention to expand the church and move, rather than see the town lose a church hall.

He said: “My clients have not received any financial or practical help from the community or Attleborough Town Council.

“The church have no intention of moving out of Attleborough.”

The planning committee voted to refuse the application, voting eight votes for and one against the recommendation for refusal.

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