Revived plans to convert city church into homes looks set for refusal by council

PUBLISHED: 12:20 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:20 02 August 2018

Flashback to 2016, when campaigners protested against plans to convert St Peters Methodist Church in Norwich into flats PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Flashback to 2016, when campaigners protested against plans to convert St Peters Methodist Church in Norwich into flats PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

A revived attempt to convert a Golden Triangle church into flats looks set to be knocked back, with council officers recommending it for refusal.

Plans to turn St Peters Methodist Church on Park Lane into 10 flats were submitted earlier this year by Wymondham-based developer The Interesting Building Company, following a failed attempt for twice this number last year.

The original plans were refused by Norwich City Council in July 2017 and it looks as though the same outcome could be reached this time, with officers recommending the scheme for refusal.

The first application, submitted in 2016, attracted more than 100 objections from those living nearby, who campaigned against the proposals. And while the revised application looks set for refusal by the council’s planning committee next Thursday, there is still a chance the original proposal could go ahead.

On Wednesday, August 8 – the day before the committee meeting – a public hearing into the original refusal gets under way, with The Interest Building Company having lodged an appeal to the planning inspector.

This means, even if the new application for 10 homes is refused, the original plans for 20 could still go ahead.

The previous application had seen the developers and the city council at loggerheads over affordable housing contributions, with the two unable to reach an agreement.

The appealed bid was refused by City Hall on the grounds that it did not meet the policy requirement of 33pc, which the developers argued would render the scheme unviable.

The developers also refused to pay a commuted sum of £507,000 towards affordable home elsewhere in the city, instead offering either three affordable homes on site – 15% of the development – or a £371,800 commuted sum.

This time around, however, 
they have offered £3,980, after halving the total number of homes in the proposals.

At the meeting, councillors 
will discuss two separate applications around the scheme, one of which includes a new access road off Avenue Road. Both have been recommended for refusal.

The city council planning committee meets on Thursday, August 9.

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