Church hall to make way for new homes

PUBLISHED: 14:26 04 January 2007 | UPDATED: 19:53 01 June 2010

Elm church hall, which could disappear now that a Government inspector has allowed homes to be built on part of its site.
Picture: BRIAN PURDY

Elm church hall, which could disappear now that a Government inspector has allowed homes to be built on part of its site. Picture: BRIAN PURDY

ELM is set to lose its church hall after a planning appeal granted permission for demolition of part of the building to create space for two new homes. Fenland District Council refused the application in May arguing that the new homes would be over-develo

ELM is set to lose its church hall after a planning appeal granted permission for demolition of part of the building to create space for two new homes.

Fenland District Council refused the application in May arguing that the new homes would be over-development of the site and detrimental to the character of the surrounding area.

But Government planning inspector John Woolcock overturned the council's ruling and said loss of the hall would not have a detrimental effect on community activities, or on the village conservation area in which it lies.

"The proposal would accord with national and local policy concerning the conservation area and would not have an unacceptable adverse effect on the provision of community facilities or harm highway safety," he said

The church hall, known as Church House and at the junction of Main Road and Rose Lane, closed in July 2005 because of rapidly increasing of maintenance costs.

Concern had been raised about losing the facility, but Mr Woolcock noted there were other facilities in the village including the meeting room at the Dale old people's home and the Primary School hall.

And although the hall was inside the village conservation area it was not of sufficient architectural quality or historic interest to merit listing.

Mr Woolcock said: "Use of the site for residential purposes would not be out of character in this predominantly residential area."

He added that some later additions to the building, which detract from its architectural quality, will be removed under the housing plan and he did not consider a proposal for two homes "would constitute over-development".


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