Christian group which believes in ‘infallible word of God’ awarded planning permission for new place of worship in Northamptonshire

A conservative christian church will build a new place of worship in a Northamptonshire village after finally being granted planning permission.

Saturday, 8th February 2020, 1:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th February 2020, 1:51 pm
The proposed new worship place could look like this recently built Plymouth Brethren church in Stow-on-the-Wold
The proposed new worship place could look like this recently built Plymouth Brethren church in Stow-on-the-Wold

The Plymouth Brethren, which regards the Bible as the ‘infallible word of God’ and treats the literature as its highest doctrine, has been looking for years for an alternative site to its current home in Fox Lane, in Brackley.

Its new building will be in the little hamlet of Pimlico, near Syresham, in the South Northants region, and will replace the existing brick buildings that form the old Red House nursing home at High Cross. It will also have 120 car parking spaces.

The Brethren said the Brackley venue could ‘no longer accommodate the existing use of the building and land as a place of religious worship’, and finally settled on Pimlico after dismissing other sites in Tingewick, Evenley, Banbury, Helmdon, Middleton Cheney, Brackley, Greatworth and Turweston.

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The new place of worship will not act as a community facility though, instead being locked up when not used for meetings of the Gospel Trust. The congregation would travel from as far away as Rushden, Banbury and Buckingham for regular weekly meetings and three ‘assemblies’ on Sundays, including one at 6am.

Planning officers at South Northamptonshire Council had last summer recommended the scheme for refusal, which led to the Brethren withdrawing their application. But its revised plans, officers conceded, had been amended ‘as much as can be’ so as not to cause visual harm to the area.

More than 30 residents from Syresham wrote in with objections to the scheme, citing concerns such as the impact the building would have on the ‘quiet character’ of Pimlico and High Cross from the number of vehicles and ‘excessive traffic’.

But SNC planning officers said, on balance, the scheme could now be supported.

Ward councillor for the Syresham area, Councillor Paul Wiltshire, sat on the planning committe that met on Thursday afternoon (February 6) and was one of three members to vote against the scheme. He said the proposals were ‘the right building but in the wrong place’.

But planning permission was granted after nine of the 12 councillors voted it through in the meeting, held at The Forum in Towcester.

Councillor Phil Bignell said: “The parish council has raised no objections, and this is for the enjoyment of the Brethren. So if they only want to use it for 10 hours a week then it’s their building and it’s up to them.

“They got the original designs wrong, but they’ve come back and produced a much better arrangement of the site.”