Lightning strike Norwich church eyes return to fire-hit home

Flashback to when firefighters fought the blaze at the Mount Zion Family Life Church in 2006.

Flashback to when firefighters fought the blaze at the Mount Zion Family Life Church in 2006. - Credit: Evening News © 2006

A congregation whose Norwich church was destroyed when it was struck by lightning will discover next week whether it can be rebuilt on the same site.

The Norwich Family Life Church was left homeless after a blaze ripped through the Mount Zion Family Life Centre, in Heartsease Lane, in February 2006.

The blaze was initially treated as arson by Norfolk police, but nobody was ever charged and it is now believed it was caused by a lightning strike. After the fire, the church was based at the former MFI building in Barker Street and then at premises in Mason Road, which no longer has planning permission for such a use.

The church also has classrooms and offices on the Heartsease Lane site, but temporary permission for those has expired.

But plans have been lodged with Norwich City Council for a new church building, including a pre-school sports and community facilities at the church's original home.

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The proposed building would be in a different spot on the site, placed in the centre of the land.

Architects Chaplin Farrant Ltd, in a report drawn up to support the application, state: 'The church has always been committed to returning to the site, and developing proposals for a replacement church to the satisfaction of the planning department and the wider community.'

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Council officers are recommending that members of the city council's planning committee approve the plans, subject to conditions, when they meet next Thursday.

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