Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Plans to demolish former church to make way for housing decided

Plans to demolish a former church and replace it with housing were turned down by councillors who said it would be a ‘travesty’ if they went ahead.

Construction company Direct Land Investment applied to knock down Beacon Baptist Church in Killisick Road, Arnold, and replace it with housing.

But Gedling Borough Councillors voted to refuse the application during a planning meeting on April 24.

The church hosted activities including an after-school club, a jobs club and a Christmas fair before it closed during the pandemic.

But the building has water damage and contains asbestos, preventing it from re-opening.

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Direct Land Investment submitted plans for two detached homes and six semi-detached houses with a parking court.

The applicant added, “It has been demonstrated that the existing site
use is no longer sustainable or viable”.

Council officers recommended the application for approval but one councillor said it would be a “travesty” if plans were approved.

A petition ‘Save Beacon Baptist Church from demolition for housing’ gained 193 signatures. Residents commented said a community hub is needed in the area.

Kevin Cartwright, principle planning officer for Gedling Borough Council, said: “The church congregations were on a decline prior to its closure and it is my understanding that they now take place at baptist churches in Daybrook and Mapperley as an alternative.

“Whilst there was interest from a number of charities and community-based organisations, there were no concrete offers.

“In 2021 the building was listed as an asset of community value. This triggered a requirement for the owner to give community interest groups the chance to express an interest.

“The interested parties were not in a position to purchase the site.”

Cllr Henry Wheeler (Lab) said: “The beacon was a very valuable community hub in Kilisick, an area with a lot of needs.

“It would be a travesty to see this turned into residential development.

“I am all for the building being demolished but I would like to see it replaced with a new community hub.

“There’s a desperate need for a community hub in that area. There is a lot of community interest in that building.

“Not enough time has been given for those charities to find that funding.

“That site has so much potential.”

He added that residential homes would “exacerbate” existing parking issues.

Cllr Rachael Ellis (Lab) added: “This is an area of considerable deprivation and this building remains an asset of community value.

“I do accept that there is a community centre next door however it is essentially a children’s centre. It means it can’t provide the services and resources that this area badly needs.

“I believe the community is working towards raising funding and they should be allowed sufficient time to bring that to fruition.”

Cllr Paul Wilkinson (Lab) said he was “deeply uncomfortable” with the application.

He said: “This is one of the most deprived communities in the borough and it is vital that appropriate resources are provided.

“We know what the Beacon site has been and what it could become again.”

Cllr Peter Barnes (Lab) added: “There’s nothing in that vicinity for kids to do activities.

“If this was made into a proper youth community centre it would get used by all the youngsters in that area.

“If we don’t start looking after the youngsters, they will finish up doing nothing.”

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