12:40 Monday 18 February 2013

Homes approval for empty church hall

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

A VANDALISED church hall could finally be bulldozed in favour of 28 sheltered housing apartments after plans were approved.

However, it is not the first time that plans for the St Johns Church Hall site, in Rolleston Road, Horninglow, have been approved with an application for 17 homes given the nod in November, last year.

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee has now approved the new plans submitted by Trent & Dove Housing which will mean the relocation of the housing association’s residents in the dilapidated St John’s Court.

Initially, plans were put forward by church leaders to demolish the hall and rebuild a new £1.5 million community facility in the graveyard, on top of thousands of graves.

The move sparked outrage in the community and led to a year-long battle between campaigners and church bosses.

However, a new church hall will now be built on the site of the former Red Lion pub, in Horninglow Road North.

The existing church hall is currently derelict and has fallen into a state of disrepair. It has also suffered with vandalism

The newly approved plans consist of two detached buildings with 28 one-bed apartments for use by residents aged over 55 alongside communal facilities including a lounge, scooter store, coffee bar, laundry, and hairdressing facilities

The main vehicle access to the site is to be relocated from Rolleston Road to Church View, as per the previous residential development. A total of 15 parking spaces will be provided, alongside a scooter store within the building. The site is to be heavily landscaped to replace existing landscaping which will be affected by the development.

Plans have been supported by Horninglow and Eton Parish Council but received four letters of objection overlooking, and light pollution – the latter would be dealt with by way of a condition attached to the approval.

In its application, Trent & Dove said: “While the buildings are of a large scale the design quality, and height of the proposal alongside the landscaping proposed will soften the impact of the scheme.

“It is also noted that the proposal is further away from the bungalows on Church View than the existing hall.”

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