Locks Heath Free Church given permission to expand

APPROVED Proposals for Locks Heath Free Church in Hunts Pond Road
APPROVED Proposals for Locks Heath Free Church in Hunts Pond Road
Chancellor Philip Hammond. Picture: Getty

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PLANS to upgrade and extend a church have been given the go ahead by councillors.

Residents raised objections about the plans, which would see Locks Heath Free Church’s home expand with a new 400 seat auditorium, as they were concerned over the increased size of the church and in particular increased car parking.

The original application was rejected by Fareham Borough Council because councillors were concerned about the possible commercial use of the large auditorium and the location of the car park which was down the road.

The church worked with the county council to secure an extra piece of land next to it to use as car parking and it also put a condition on the use of the building to exclude commercial events.

But the application divided the local area, with the council receiving 241 letter in support and 40 objecting. A petition containing 224 signatures was also handed to the council against the application.

The plans were back before councillors today and scores of people packed into the Civic Offices to see the decision made during a meeting of the council’s planning committee.

Two deputations were made against the plans, and the agent spoke in favour.

On the planning committee Cllr Keith Evans said: ‘I think we cannot do anything but recognise this as a thriving community facility. It is a community facility with a faith foundation.

‘This application fully addresses the concerns raised by this planning application when it was refused before.’

Also on the committee Cllr Katrina Trott said: ‘It is a modern, welcoming place.

‘It is aiming to serve the community, it’s aiming to serve all members of the community.

‘I think the church has complied with our original concerns.’

The committee approved the application, with conditions being put on to limit both buildings to community use and to introduce sound limiters to deal with any possible noise nuisance.

A cheer went up in the meeting when councillors unanimously agreed the proposals.