A CONSERVATION group is objecting to plans by Christchurch Baptist Church to build a new place of worship claiming the “massive” new building will dominate the area.
In a letter to BCP Council, Christchurch Conservation Trust said the “very large, high building” would be out of keeping with the town centre Bargates area where it is proposed.
The church has submitted a £3.5m plan for a new base to replace the “inadequate” Victorian building, which minister Chris Brockway said was “no longer fit for purpose”.
He said: “We want a more welcoming and practical church which can offer the community a whole host of facilities.”
So far the application has attracted 92 letters of support lodged with BCP Council, against 28 objections, including the trust.
One supporter commented: “The current building is not big enough to allow the church to grow its congregation.
“The new building would benefit everyone that wishes to access it.”
But the trust said the “architectural style, scale, bulk, height, visual impact and relationship to nearby properties” does not comply with planning policy.
It claimed the church will be less than 100 metres from a Saxon cemetery and two Bronze Age barrows located in Waitrose car park.
It is now calling for a heritage assessment to be carried out before the application is considered further.
The trust said there are also concerns about the new church building’s impact, once the nearby magistrates and police station site is developed, such as whether there would be enough parking for worshippers and users.
It stated: “There are fears among local residents and businesses that the loss of the Pit site car park and Bargates car park will also cause serious parking problems in this part of the town centre and if this new church is built it will further exacerbate this increasing car parking problem.”