Neighbours turn out in force to voice concerns at Methodist Church planning appeal hearing

Flashback to 2016, when campaigners protested against plans to convert St Peters Methodist Church in

Flashback to 2016, when campaigners protested against plans to convert St Peters Methodist Church in Norwich into flats PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Concerned members of the public turned out in force for a planning appeal hearing over a bid to turn a Norwich church into homes.

A bid to convert St Peter's Methodist Church, on Park Lane, into 20 homes was knocked back by Norwich City Council last year, after it was unable to reach an agreement with applicants the Interesting Building Company (IBC) over the amount of affordable homes needed.

The proposals triggered an angry response from those living nearby, who raised concerns over the development's possible impact on – among other things – parking, flooding and daylight.

Their fears were allayed, however, when the city council's planning committee rejected the proposals in July.

However, an appeal from the Wymondham-based home builders was heard by planning inspector Mike Worden at city hall on Wednesday – just 24 hours before a scaled-backed version of the scheme goes to committee today.

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At yesterday's inquiry, Mr Worden heard evidence from both the city council and IBC representatives, along with many of those living nearby the city church.

Several people spoke of concerns that, should the appeal be upheld, the 20-home development would severely impact parking and road safety in the area.

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David Luckhurst, of nearby Maida Vale, said he already experiences major parking issues in his cul-de-sac, and that he often has to take a taxi into the city as his car becomes blocked in.

Janet Steele, another public speaker, raised concerns that additional traffic brought by the development would pose a threat to schoolchildren who attend the nearby Avenue Junior School.

Her fears were echoed by Rosemary Le Fevre, who said: 'I would suggest a detailed risk assessment is carried out on the roads in the area, as accidents do happen.'

However, Mark Brown, a city council planner said no objections were raised against the scheme by the county council's highways department.

Mr Worden also heard concerns around the development exacerbating flooding issues on roads nearby, including West Parade, and impacting on the daylight neighbouring homes receive.

The hearing also included a site visit, but was adjourned until the middle of September to allow comments to be made on new viability evidence provided by IBC just days before it began.

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