Stevenage church will get a wedgie despite complaints from the neighbours
- Credit: Dan WIlson
Plans for an extension to Bunyan Baptist Church premises on Basils Road in Stevenage have been approved despite a barrage of letters from neighbours expressing their concerns.
Plans were approved by Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee on Tuesday evening for a single storey wedge shaped extension to the side of the church, which would link it to existing meeting rooms creating a new open area for church users.
The plans also include a small extension to the meeting rooms to create a new toilet block and a mezzanine floor inside the church.
Before the meeting the council received letters from 15 addresses in Basils Road objecting to the plans.
Among their concerns were that the extension would be out of keeping with the Victorian style of the church building and the visual aspect of the surrounding area, that the extension could lead to more visitors to the church which would lead to more traffic in an already congested area, that the glass front to the extension would spoil the Victorian building and that light would be blocked to neighbouring properties.
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Minister Andrew Ginn said the church has a ‘good relationship’ with its neighbours and has worked with consultants to make sure the plans fit in with the surrounding area.
He said: “We want to increase the usability and accessibility of the site to cater for our current activities.
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“We’ve gone to great trouble to get feedback from consultants who have taken the view that the scheme is sympathetic to the site.
“We’re not planning to increase the footfall on the premises or put on additional activities.
“At the moment our Sunday schools have to meet off site at Stanmore Hall and we want to change that so that groups of seven to 25-year-olds don’t have to go marching up the road.”
He added: “The expectation associated with using a premises has changed over the last 30 years and so we need to modernise accordingly.”
Mr Ginn would not comment on how the project would be funded but the Comet understands the sale of Stanmore Hall could help pay for the development.
The plans can be viewed at www.stevenage.gov.uk.