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Could Donald Trump help council demolish Norwich church?

PUBLISHED: 06:30 29 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 29 September 2019

US president Donald Trump. Pic: Steffan Rousseau/PA Wire.

US president Donald Trump. Pic: Steffan Rousseau/PA Wire.

PA Wire/PA Images

A legal case when United States president Donald Trump failed to stop a wind farm being built near his Scottish golf course could play a role in whether a Norwich church hall has to be torn down.

Pastor Edmond Tsui outside the Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church. Photo: Luke PowellPastor Edmond Tsui outside the Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church. Photo: Luke Powell

Norwich City Council had served an enforcement notice against Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church.

The church had been given planning permission for the new hall in 2016.

But, after neighbours raised concerns, the council started an investigation.

And they said the £920,000 extension had been built 4.5m closer to nearby homes, in Old School Close, than planning permission had agreed.

The church lodged an new planning application seeking permission for where it had been built.

But that was turned down by the planning committee last year.

And councillors sanctioned officers to start enforcement action.

That action sought either the demolition of the hall's gable end and replacement with a hipped gable, or the demolition of the whole church.

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The church appealed that enforcement notice and the refusal of planning permission.

The matter is now in the hands of a planning inspector, who will have the final say on whether the church hall will be permitted to stay as it is or not.

And, in their submission to justify why enforcement action is correct, City Hall officers refer to a Supreme Court case involving Mr Trump.

That case saw Mr Trump lose in his attempt to prevent a wind farm being built near his golf course in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

Solicitors acting for the church's trustees, say they do not accept it has been built 4.5m closer to the northern boundary.

But they do accept the rear boundary had been incorrectly denoted on the plans which had been permitted.

They argue any discrepancy is solely down to a graphical error, so it is not true to say the church has not been built in accordance with planning permission.

The council argues otherwise.

And, in its submission to the appeal process, it urges the inspector to study the Trump case for a discussion of planning conditions and how to interpret them.

The inspector will make a decision in due course.

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