(Please delete if already posted)!
http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/content/News/story.aspx?brand=ENOnline&category=News&tBrand=enonline&tCategory=news&itemid=NOED08%20Sep%202006%2008%3A52%3A11%3A353 Kingdom Hall delay over traffic worries
|The current Kingdom Hall in Chatham Street.|
08 September 2006 08:51
Jehovah's Witnesses will have to wait to find out if they have a new home after planners deferred a decision to allow the building of a new Kingdom Hall in west Norwich.
Members of Norwich City Council's planning committee yesterday voted six to four against their planning officers' recommendation to agree to the building of the hall on land behind the police station at Wendene, Bowthorpe.
But they were warned by their head of planning Stuart Orrin that their reasons for refusal - potential traffic problems and a loss of an open green space - would not stand up to a planning appeal, with the risk that the council could be forced to pay costs.
So it was decided instead that the committee would take legal advice and discuss the application again at a meeting within the next month.
Objections have been raised to the plans by people living around the site and the members of the Bowthorpe Community Partnership, who fear the effect additional traffic will have on Wendene and the fact the hall would be sharing an entrance with the police station, causing potential conflict if police vehicles needing to go out on an emergency.
But planning officers said the 24 parking spaces planned to serve the hall was adequate to accommodate the congregation, while Philip Conway, the architect and agent for the Norwich Earlham Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses told the meeting: “Norwich is split up into sectors, with 250 people going to each Kingdom Hall. There are three staggered services on a Sunday so they do not arrive at the same time.”
He added that building the hall in Bowthorpe to replace the current Kingdom Hall in Chatham Street would give more members of the congregation the chance to walk or cycle rather than take their cars and a car-sharing scheme was already in operation.
Planning committee member Judith Lubbock agreed that the application should go ahead. She said: “It's a suitable place for development, the design is in-keeping with the area, it has appropriate parking and landscaping and suitable access. If residents have a problem with parking of vehicles there, there should be consideration given to putting parking restrictions on that service road.”
But Adrian Holmes, a fellow committee member, felt the undeveloped site should not be built on, even though it was designated by the city council as “contingency land”, earmarked a number of years ago for future development.
He said: “I still think it's valuable to have open space, particularly in this area.”
When the application goes before the council again in the next month it will be third time it has been discussed - the application was deferred to yesterday's planning meeting after it was decided a site visit was needed, which took place before the meeting started.
Speaking after the meeting, Bowthorpe councillor Christine Rumsby said: “I'll go back to the Bowthorpe Partnership with what's happened today and get their reaction, then work forward from there. There are genuine concerns from people about noise and suchlike.” Nevada-