Plan for church revamp gets thumbs down over its design

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A £2m plan to revamp a church has been refused by a council over fears it could become an eyesore.

Planners at Havant Borough Council had recommended the proposals for Emsworth Baptist Church, in North Street, Emsworth, be approved.

But councillors voted three to two in favour of refusing it because they said the proposed design would not fit in with the rest of Emsworth.

The plan was to demolish the church hall and build a new one with twice the floor space.

The proposed building would be single-storey and include a large foyer and auditorium, which would seat 300 people.

Cllr Ann Buckley, who voted for it, said: ‘I was not completely happy with it, but when I saw inside the building and heard about their vision, I was happy to support it.

‘I think other members felt it did not fit into historic Emsworth. It’s not in the conservation area but is next to it.’

The Rev Dane Baker said he was disappointed with the decision as the church had already modified the plans after lengthy discussions with the council.

He said: ‘We are going to take advice from our architects and look at what the church leadership think is the best way forward.

‘It seems the councillors who voted against had not perhaps appreciated that we had done that much work over the past year modifying plans.’