Parish council to fight new housing plan for church

PUBLISHED: 12:00 04 May 2018

Wedmore Baptist Church. Picture: Google

Wedmore Baptist Church. Picture: Google

Google

A parish council is opposing plans to transform a former church into new houses.

Wedmore Baptist Church, in Grants Lane, closed in 2010 with just two people regularly attending services.

The building has remained unused since although a previous planning application was refused on appeal in 2016 to turn the church and school rooms into two homes.

Now developer Pang Properties has resubmitted the plans to Sedgemoor District Council but Wedmore Parish Council is still hoping the church can be ‘rescued’.

A parish council statement says: “The application is described as revised, but the only apparent revision is the acceptance the residents of the proposed development will actually park their vehicles in Grants Lane.

“The parish council does not agree with the applicant’s consultant this will have minimal impact, preferring the view of Sedgemoor District Council and the planning inspector on appeal the last time this scheme was proposed, which is Grants Lane is narrow, narrowing particularly at this point, carries a reasonable amount of traffic and can not bear the burden of additional on-street parking.

“The parish council wishes to see the Baptist chapel rescued and would prefer a commercial development where it is more easy to control the parking.”

The previous plan was dismissed by a planning inspector on the basis on-street parking would create traffic and road safety problems.

But the developer is confident its new application will be given the green light as housing was not ruled out as a viable future use for the building.

The application’s design and access statement says: “This is a resubmission of a previous scheme which was dismissed at appeal in which the inspector did not discount the principle of the use of the building as a residential conversion, provided it could be proven a residential use would have the least impact on the local highway network.

“This application is resubmitted on the same basis as before but addresses fundamental issues the inspector did not have access to or appreciate, and therefore the applicant considers it warrants a fresh determination.”

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