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Mega church plans stalled

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:18 07 May 2010

Designs of the new Norwich Family Life Centre at the old Hellesdon hospital site.

Designs of the new Norwich Family Life Centre at the old Hellesdon hospital site.

A decision on plans to build a controversial £6m mega church on the outskirts of the city have been put on hold until the public have been given more of a say on the proposal.

A decision on plans to build a controversial £6m mega church on the outskirts of the city have been put on hold until the public have been given more of a say on the proposal.

The plans for the proposed 1,000 capacity Norwich Family Life church and community centre on the site of the former David Rice Hospital, were due to go before Broadland District Council next week.

But entrepreneur Graham Dacre, who owns the land off Drayton High Road through the Lind Trust, and already has planning permission has been told there needs to be more public consultation.

The decision to postpone the application has been prompted by advice from Broadland Council planning officers, to Mr Dacre and his agent Les Brown, who is overseeing the planning application.

Mr Brown said: “The local authority does not think it is ready to determine the application yet. They want us to meet with residents which we are willing to do and hope to do soon.”

Families worried about the plans have formed the Drayton Residents Action Group and fear it would lead to extra traffic.

In November the Evening News reported how more than 250 people packed out the Bob Carter Centre in Drayton to ask questions about the church, which would replace the Mount Zion Family Centre in Heartsease which burned down in February 2006.

A spokesman from the Drayton Residents Action Group said at that public meeting their questions were not properly answered, so they would not want to meet Mr Dacre again unless they could be sure this time their queries would be.

They said: “If we were to meet with them we would only be asking questions which we have asked before and which have not been answered, so until we do get some answers there is no point holding another meeting.”

Phil Courtier, head of planning at Broadland District Council, said: “We do not feel there is currently sufficient information to give proper consideration to the application.”

A copy of the new amended plans available for the public to view at the Bob Carter Centre, School Road, Drayton, which is open throughout the day from 9am until 11pm.

Are you battling a planning application? If so contact reporter Tracey Gray on 01603 772418 or email tracey.gray@archant.co.uk

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