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Decision due on new Postwick church for Norwich Christian community

PUBLISHED: 15:30 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:42 28 August 2018

Postwick hub pictured in 2016 Picture: Mike Page

Postwick hub pictured in 2016 Picture: Mike Page

Copypright Mike Page, All Rights Reserved Before any use is made of this picture, including dispaly, publication, broadcast, syn

Councillors will decide next week whether members of a Christian community will have a new place to worship in the Broadland area.

Broadland District Council has received an application for a new church hall to be built close to the Postwick Hub junction.

If approved, the new church will stand to the east of Oaks Lane in Postwick and will serve Norwich and Norfolk’s Plymouth Brethren Christian community.

The application has been submitted by RLEPL Ltd, on behalf of the religious group, with the gospel hall intended to replace an existing meeting hall on Green Lane West in Rackheath.

Next week, the application will go before members of Broadland’s planning committee, with officers recommending it for approval - despite it being outside of settlement limits.

The officer’s report says: “Whilst there is a degree of conflict with the site being outside of the settlement limit, the proposal would provide a community use to meet an identified need within the area.”

There is, however, a possibility the application could be called-in for consideration by the secretary of state for communities and local government, with the health and safety executive (HSE) advising against its approval.

The report notes that the HSE has raised concerns that a high-pressure gas pipe running through the site could pose a safety hazard as the project is built.

Should the application be approved, the HSE can request the application be called-in by central government for its own consideration.

These concerns, however, were not enough to deter officers from the project, who have recommended it for full planning permission.

If the plans are approved, the applicants have said the hall will make it far easier for regional meetings with the group’s Waveney and mid-Norfolk communities - events that attract more than 500 people.

A submission to the application says: “The existing capacity of the Rackheath hall is 356 seats. We currently squeeze in by filling walkways with loose chairs, children sitting on parents’ laps and adults sitting tightly shoulder-to-shoulder, hence the reason and dire need for a new hall.”

The planning committee will meet on Wednesday, September 5.

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