Norwich church could be converted to flats

A former church on Silver Road could be converted into twelve flats if developer's plans are approved by Norwich City Council this week.

The 1910 building was sold on by the Silver Road Baptist Church several years ago and has sat empty since then.

But a redevelopment scheme will go before the council's Planning Applications Committee on Thursday.

The plans for the church at the junction of Silver Road and Mousehold Avenue include ten two-bedroom and two three-bedroom flats.

Hilary Hyde, secretary, said that the building had been sold to Essex-based developers Scott Properties because it was no longer needed.

'We have every bit of space we need so it suits us very well. It was space we weren't able to use because it was too big for the congregation. It's good that it's going to help other people,' she said.

'It's better than being turned into a pub or a wine bar, which other churches have been turned into. We've been to other places where a church has been turned into a nightclub.

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'It could be a very great deal worse,' she added.

The building on the west of the site will be redeveloped, while the building on the east will remain as a place of worship.

The flats could be built in the single-storey building, constructed in a neo-Norman style, which will be converted into four floors. Two new floors will be added, as well as a mezzanine floor in the roof.

The Norwich Society has said that there are too many units in the plan and that the development of the roof space is not ideal as it will create apartments with no proper windows. It added that just two storeys of flats would give much more 'breathing space'.

The plans were also put out for public feedback, but no letters in support or objection were received by the council.

In a report to councillors the chapel is described as 'a significant building locally' which 'dominates' the local area, although it is not listed.

The report goes on to recommend that councillors approve the plan.

Because of the scale of the scheme developers will need to pay �3,385.80 towards sustainable transport improvements and �13,740 in lieu of play equipment for children, which cannot be fitted on the site, if the plans are approved.

t What do you think of the plans? Write to Evening News Letter, prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email