Plans To Demolish Church Hall in Soham To Make Way For Homes Set For Approval

PUBLISHED: 09:42 04 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 04 May 2010

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PLANS to demolish a church hall to make way for new housing were set to go before councillors for a third time yesterday (Wednesday). St Andrew s Church Hall in Soham, has been earmarked for demolition by local building company C J Murfitt Ltd, with an u

PLANS to demolish a church hall to make way for new housing were set to go before councillors for a third time yesterday (Wednesday).

St Andrew's Church Hall in Soham, has been earmarked for demolition by local building company C J Murfitt Ltd, with an updated application to replace the building with eight new houses entered to the district council's Planning Committee this month.

Two previous applications to demolish the derelict building have either been refused or deferred by the committee within the past year, but the new plans which went before councillors last night (August 5) featured a host of changes by the company, to the extent that council officers have this time recommended the application for approval.

Original plans to build 13 dwellings on the site, entered by Amber Homes in April 2008, were refused by both council officers and the Planning Committee on grounds of excessive size.

In consultations with officers, Soham Town Council raised concerns about the use of the site for housing instead of retail but didn't object to the demolition of the church hall, a building which has been out of use for more than a decade.

Councillor for Soham South Mark Duckworth, also raised concerns about the purely residential nature of the application.

He told the Ely Standard:

"In an ideal world I would prefer this site to be mixed use and include some element of retail so I would like to sit down and talk to Mr Murfitt about how we can make this application fit in with the work being done on the Masterplan."

Local resident Geoff Griggs, said: "It's a shame that the building can't be used for the benefit of the community but the community hasn't used the building for some time and I think it is better to make use of the site.

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