Christian group criticised for not getting Stevenage performance permission

The Potters House group have been appearing in Stevenage since April last year

The Potters House group have been appearing in Stevenage since April last year - Credit: Archant

A religious group have been criticised for performing in a public place without permission.

Members of the Potters House Christian Church (PHCC) have congregated in Stevenage town centre on Saturdays sporadically since last April.

The group, who are based at Springfield House and were previously located in Croydon, have appeared regularly throughout the last year, dancing and singing with a PA system.

There are currently three sites within the town centre which are reserved for charitable and religious groups to use for non-commercial purposes. However these sites are supposed to be booked with the Stevenage Town Centre Management Company and there is a limit to how much time can be allocated to each group.

Town centre manager Tracey Parry said: “The Potters House group have shown a complete disregard for the rules we currently have in place. We try to provide a fair service to all non-profit organisations in the town and, while we would be happy for them to visit the centre, we want them to go about it in the right way.

“We have received numerous complaints from traders in the area who believe these performances are having a negative effect on their customers’ shopping experience. It doesn’t matter that they are a religious group – they have to abide by the rules just as everyone else does. Otherwise shoppers will get the wrong image of Stevenage as a place to visit and they will end up going somewhere else.”

Gary Pick, who runs the Flower and Plant Company gift stall in the town centre, said: “The music is far too loud and, unfortunately it does a lot to drive some of our customers away.

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“I wouldn’t mind as much if they had been given permission to be here but considering we’re paying our rates to keep our stall going, it just doesn’t seem fair.”

The PHCC was unavailable to comment at the time of the Comet going to print.