‘Not in this way’ - Developers could finally succeed in bid to convert former church into homes

Local residents who are furious about plans drawn up by developers to redevelop St Peter's Methodist

Local residents who are furious about plans drawn up by developers to redevelop St Peter's Methodist Church in Park Lane and replace it with 20 flats + one house.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A developer could finally be set to succeed in its long standing ambition to convert a former Golden Triangle church into housing - though fierce opposition from neighbours remains.

Wymondham-based home builder the Interesting Building Company has been in a stalemate with Norwich City Council over its proposals for St Peter's Methodist Church in Norwich for more than four years.

The lengthy saga, which has seen the council knock back a trio of previous applications, has seen the two unable to agree on the issue of affordable housing.

However, after failing to convince a planning inspector to overturn the original application, the company appears to have won over council officers with its latest offer.

Next Thursday, the city council's planning committee will run the rule over its latest bid, which has been recommended for approval.

This would provide 20 new homes on the site, with IBC contributing £167,172 towards affordable housing elsewhere in the city - having previously offered just £3,980.

The offer is the exact amount planning inspector Mike Worden indicated as the maximum reasonable contribution the council could expect from the scheme.

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However, more than 50 objections to the scheme have been submitted by neighbours who campaigned against previous proposals,

Concerns include continued fears over parking, over-shadowing and flood risk.

Derek Robertson, of nearby Parker Road, said: 'Unfortunately the consensus from neighbours has not changed - our concerns are very much the same.

'Mums and dads in the area are particularly worried about putting another 20 units on an already dangerous junction for the walks to school.

'We all want to see the site put to a positive use, but not in this way.'

In her report to councillors, case officer Maria Hammond warned that should the committee refuse the application, an inspector would be unlikely to find in the council's favour again.

She said: 'The application is identical to a previous proposal which was refused planning permission and dismissed on appeal. The sole reason for the refusal was the failure to agree an appropriate affordable housing contribution.'