Residents call for church plan veto

Residents of Lune Grove who are protesting at plans to convert the Bethesda Church into flats.
Residents of Lune Grove who are protesting at plans to convert the Bethesda Church into flats.
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Residents are calling on councillors to turn down plans to convert a former church into flats, when they meet today.

As reported in The Gazette last week, Blackpool’s planning committee is being recommended to approve a bid by Keith Sodhi to use the Bethesda Congregational Church on the corner of Grasmere Road and Lune Grove as nine flats.

Town hall planners have warned if nothing is done, the building could fall into a state of disrepair.

But residents of Lune Grove fear the development will be over-intensive and lead to parking problems.

Karla Parsons, who lives next door, said: “It will totally overlook my property and there is not enough parking.

“If there were fewer flats, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

Zakir Hussain said: “We understand there is a need to develop the building, but as a compromise it should be five or six flats.

“We all know there is already a parking problem in this area.

“People from Grasmere Road park on Lune Grove because they can’t park on Grasmere.”

Philip Gledhill added: “There are too many flats in the development and parking is going to be a real nuisance.”

A previous application to convert the church to 10 flats was turned down by the council in January.

The fresh plans are for nine flats, and the developer is proposing to create two additional parking spaces.

He has also agreed to fund a residents parking scheme.

A design statement accompanying the plans says: “The applicant has stated that he is willing to pay for the inception of a residential parking scheme for Lune Grove.

“This had been agreed in principle with both the planners, and the traffic department.”

In their report to councillors, planners say without redevelopment there is a “real concern the building will continue to fall into disrepair”.

It has already been vandalised.