Brethren’s plan for Carlby Gospel hall rejected by councillors

The proposed location for a Gospel hall in High Street, Carlby. Photo: Google EMN-160114-111240001
The proposed location for a Gospel hall in High Street, Carlby. Photo: Google EMN-160114-111240001

A large number of Carlby residents turned out to oppose an application for a Gospel hall to be built in the village.

Welland Gospel Hall Trust wanted to build a single-storey building and car park in a paddock off High Street, on the western edge of village. The trust is a member of the Plymouth Bretheren Christian Church.

But at a meeting of South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee on Tuesday, Margaret Hawkins, who has lived in High Street for more than 15 years, said: “There is no Brethren community in Carlby, and nowhere in this application does it say how it would benefit Carlby or its residents.”

She was also one of many villagers to express concern about services taking place at 6am, and the resulting traffic at this time. She added: “With the fencing and floodlights it will look like a prison compound.”

David Nelson, who has lived next to the proposed site for 28 years, was also critical of the application. “It is not a brownfield site, it is a paddock,” he said, before outlining that there were brownfield sites available nearby, including an unused former school.

Carlby parish councillor John Bavister said residents had previously taken part in a village design statement. “We were told by the council that this would be viewed as a material planning consideration. This building goes against the village design statement. It is out of character with Carlby,” he said.

In response, the applicant’s agent Andrew Beard argued the paddock was the most sustainable location for the Gospel hall. “There are five villages nearby where there are members of the Brethren community,” he said. “Having the Gospel hall here would mean a short distance for all these persons, rather than everybody going to the nearest large town.”

He said the design of the building, with a timber frame and timber weatherboard cladding, meant that “it would look no different to a paddock and stable”.

A member of the nearby Brethren community also spoke during the meeting, and stressed that they had good relationships with neighbours at their existing places of worship in Stamford.

But going against the recommendation of the council’s planning officer, councillors voted to refuse the application on the grounds that it contradicted the council’s core spatial strategy policies, and the village design statement.

There were also questions over its classification as a community building as it would not be open to the entire community.