Monday, August 19, 2013
The latest plans to demolish Brixington Community Church and build a larger two-storey facility have not been backed by the town hall.
At least 20 Ellwood Road residents packed into the council chambers on Monday, to hear the council recommend that the plans be refused.
The original scheme, for a new two-storey building on the site of existing church between Churchill Road and Ellwood Road, was submitted last year, writes David Beasley.
A new plan was then filed – but while alterations were made, local objectors have not been swayed and East Devon District Council has received 48 letters of objection.
The new application said that building would provide a communal facility that the community currently lacked, and by building into the hillside it would ‘reduce’ the scale of the building.
But at the meeting, Bill Mackie, a resident of Ellwood Road, said: “Lowering the height by half a metre will make little difference when you look at the size and scale of the building.
“All the bungalows on the north and east side have open views – they will lose those views.
“It’s a monolith. It’s absolutely criminal.”
Bob Blandamer, of Ellwood Road, said: “This is supposed to be Brixington Community Church.
“It has not been elected by the community to serve our needs and it has no mandate to do so.
“The proposals are six times the size of the existing building.”
He said that the church was rarely full and added: “Reasonable growth within the community cannot be used to justify this edifice.
“We are not against the church, we are against the building.
“There has been no proper consultation… this seems to me to be a commercial enterprise. It’s a sports centre and not a church.”
Councillor Richard Turner said: “I find it incredible that so many people are opposing the application, yet the applicants have had no real tact with the residents at all. I can’t see how it can possibly go ahead.”
Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “I don’t see anything in the amended plans that would lead me to support this. There does not seem to have been any dialogue with residents on how it is going to affect them.
“My concern is the possibility that it will be built on a public right of way.
“It would be a shame for this to go.”
Councillor Sandy MacQueen said: “This is too bulky and too high…
“This application has not been altered enough for it to be acceptable.”
District planners will make the final ruling.