Plans are being made to sell a 213-year-old Fakenham church for housing and rebuild the place of worship in the north of the town.

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Bob McKay, senior pastor at Fakenham Community Baptist Church, said the church, on Mill Court, needs to move to a bigger premises due to its increasing popularity.

He also spoke to allay neighbours’ concerns that the proposed new homes may not suit the character of the area.

The church, which was built in 1801 and expanded with a new building some 20 years ago, is within a conservation area and one of the oldest parts of Fakenham.

Some land was bought off Clipbush Lane, near The Running Horse pub, last week to build a new church and a planning application is to be submitted to North Norfolk District Council.

Discussions have taken place with several developers interested in building homes on the site where Fakenham Community Baptist Church currently stands.

No details about how many homes could be built or the nature of the development have been confirmed, but Mr McKay said it is likely the outside of the old part of the church will remain the same and the newer building could be demolished.

He said: “Some residents have concerns and I completely understand that.

“But this is in a conservation area and I think they need to put faith in the planners and believe they will ensure the new development is in keeping with the area.

“There certainly won’t be a new Asda supermarket and multi-storey car park.

“We get more than 150 people at the church on Sundays, coming in from 29 villages, and this building is just far too small for us.

“We hold many popular community activities here and this move will enable us to do more of this.”

Dale Payne, 47, who lives nearby on Swan Street, said: “I may be wrong but I do worry that these new homes will be sub-standard.

“They will have a road on one side and a car park on the other so the only reason people would buy them is because they would be cheap.

“I’ve spent more than £1m on my home. I would never have done that if I knew this would happen.”

Another Swan Street resident, Peter Milsom, said: “This is one of the oldest parts of Fakenham.

“People here live in 300-year-old cottages.

“It is not a suitable area for a new housing development.”

What do you think of the plans? Write to EDPLetters@archant.co.uk remembering to include your name and address.

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