Conservation group slams church’s £3.5m plan for new building in centre of Christchurch

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baptist church christchurch plans
A CGI showing how the new Christchurch Baptist Church building would look

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.

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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.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The people who congregate at the church have always been rude to me and my family who live on the street. They have no consideration for the residents on the road standing in the street and making noise early in the morning. Parking opposite drives making it hard to get in and out, blocking the road whilst having conversations from the car and not rushing to move out the way. Building a bigger church to accommodate more people and removing parking they have would make this issue worse. Not to mention the unattractive building they are planning to build.

  2. The 92 letters of support are from congregation, most of whom do not live in the locality.
    The impact on the whole area would be devasting

  3. Ref: Christchurch Baptist Church. I am one of the residents of Beaconsfield Road that has, along with most of my neighbours, objected to the proposed building of this monstrous Church at the end of my road. We already have issues with the existing Church and parishioners due to the noise early in the mornings at weekends and more so the total disregard to parking on our tiny little narrow cul-de-sac. The church has been very aware for years now of the problems with parking and noise not just at weekends but weekdays also as the church is in constant use. A great number of the congregation are elderly or disabled or both and park with no due care and attention on the section of road with yellow lines, blocking people’s access to driveways and causing access restrictions for bigger vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines or vans etc, the rest park down our road as there are no permit restrictions at the weekend and hourly parking is allowed during the week. The rest park in the Raxworthy car park which will soon (possibly) be built over by this huge Church, making way for a basement, ground floor & first and second floors. The excavation for the basement is a huge worry as the neighboring houses are Victorian and don’t have very sturdy foundations as was Bourne out when the whole front of one of the houses down this road collapsed when a sewage pipe was put along the centre of the road. I certainly am concerned about potential damage to my property but also wonder how they possibly imagine a tiny little Victorian road with no proper turning point as it’s a narrow cul-de-sac, not even enough parking for the permit paying residents, and a road that fronts on to one of the main arterial, busy roads in and out of Christchurch, also with no parking is the ideal spot for this gargantuan church with (apparently) nearly 400 parishioners. The church may have a lot of support but when you check out the addresses of these supporters (parishioners) NONE actually live here they are dotted for miles around but none actually here in this road or Bargates, so one wonders why they don’t take their 3.5M and buy a piece of land and build away to their hearts content, somewhere with plenty of parking and away from residential areas where they can sing and bang their drums and slam their car doors as loud as they like at 7am on Sunday Mornings and I can get maybe an occasional lie-in.

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