CONTROVERSIAL plans to build three houses next to a church in a residential area of Lee-on-the-Solent have been rejected.
Residents living near St Faith’s Church in Victoria Square were angry at plans to build a new vicarage and three new houses.
The Diocese of Portsmouth submitted plans to Gosport Borough Council as the current vicarage needs replacing. But councillors have rejected the plans.
Martin Marks, chairman of the Lee Residents Association, said he is relieved with the decision.
‘We are pleased. It’s a sensible decision in view of what was proposed to be crammed on to the plot,’ he said.
‘We accept that the new vicar needs a house and they are going to have to fund it.
‘But it’s right next to a listed building. It would have spoilt the whole area.’
The vicarage has been empty since Canon Peter Sutton left in October 2012 after 19 years.
However, Mr Marks is concerned about what may happen next.
‘I’m relieved it’s been stopped but my concern is that it’s not going to be the end of it,’ he said.
Philip Scott, 65, lives in Richmond Road.
He said: ‘I am relieved that it’s been turned down because I was opposed to it right from the start.
‘Victoria Square is a unique area in Lee-on-the-Solent. It’s an open area which it has been since I can remember.
‘It would be a really big shame to see that go.’
But the Church of England said the houses have been designed in a sympathetic style to the existing detached homes in the area.
The Archdeacon of the Meon, the Ven Gavin Collins, said: ‘We are disappointed.
‘We’re slightly frustrated as they’re refusing it without considering it at full committee.
‘We intend to go ahead with the application, therefore with the appeal process.’
The new minister will move into temporary accommodation in Elson.
‘The longer that it takes to build the new vicarage the more constrained his ministry is going to be,’ he added.
The new minster will be licensed at St Faith’s Church on March 13 at 7.30pm.