Leeds city centre church plan blocked

Nick Miles.
Nick Miles.
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RESIDENTS including actor Nick Miles – Emmerdale’s Jimmy King – are celebrating a planners’ decision to stop a church opening beneath their apartments.

The United Church of the Kingdom of God was seeking permission to convert two vacant shops and a former warehouse in North Street, Leeds city centre.

But the application attracted 31 letters of objection, including 23 from residents of the Merchant house apartments which are above the vacant shops.

The actor was among those who wrote letters to the council opposing the scheme. Hilary Benn MP (Lab, Leeds Central) also objected.

Those opposing the application argued that residents would be disturbed by music, singing and other noises associated with church services. It was also feared people attending services would add to the area’s parking problems.

A report to the council’s city centre plans panel said 57 letters of support had been received from the church’s congregation.

It said: “The letters highlight the positive influence the church has had on their lives and identifies the application site as being a much more accessible location than their existing temporary premises on Dewsbury Road.

Panel members heard the church, which currently had a congregation of about 80, would have a capacity of 176 with opening hours of 6.30am to 10.30pm.

Coun Elizabeth Nash (Lab, City and Hunslet) said: “Most churches are free-standing buildings but this proposal is for it to be part of a building full of residents. I would not like this church under where I live.”

Coun David Blackburn (Green, Farnley and Wortley) said: “The hours of use concern me. It is too early and too late for an activity that could cause noise.”

Panel members refused the application.

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