Christian Revival Church issue statement over planning appeal

Faith Matters / Fri 29th Jul 2022 at 08:19am

A SPOKESPERSON for a church whose bid to move into the Harlow Leisurezone was turned down by the Harlow Council planning committee has issued a statement after they won an appeal against the decision.

A spokesperson for Christian Revival Church (CRC) said: “During the planning application process, the local council received some unwelcoming comments as to our prospective occupation of the unit, and many unfounded allegations were made against our organisation by the committee members as well as members of the public. We believe that these allegation and personal opinions, subsequently contributed to the application being refused.

Firstly, it was a significant matter of concern to us that certain assumptions have been made about us as an organisation and a church, and secondly, that these personal agendas, believes and viewpoints by committee members of the council, affected the decision-making process, supposedly to be determined by policies and laws of the relevant authority.

For this reason, we appealed the outcome of the planning application and were pleased that the Appeal was granted in our favour.

We refer to the Appeal Decision Statement and concur with all findings by the Inspector and point specifically to the below:

Both the existing and proposed uses fall within the provisions of LP Policy L2, which gives no greater weight to one use, over the other.

The Appeal Inspector have given careful consideration to the case and founded that:

  • there would be no conflict with LP policies PL1 or L2 because the proposed change of use would create a safe and secure environment, accessible, should they choose, to all sectors of the community. Further, there would be no conflict with paragraph 130 of the National Planning Policy Framework in so far as it requires development to create places that are safe, inclusive and do not undermine the quality of life or community cohesion and resilience.
  • No factual evidence exists of any substance that the proposed change of use would lead to discrimination of the wider Harlow community or that it would reduce the actual, or perception of, safety for other users of the Harlow Leisure zone.

“CRC will in due course make decisions on how we will proceed from here on”.

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9 Comments for Christian Revival Church issue statement over planning appeal:

2022-07-29 08:53:35

Seems an odd place for a church.

David Forman
2022-07-29 11:26:13

Plus of course, as I pointed out at the Council meeting last night in my question, the CRC had their Article 9 Freedom of Thought, Belief and Religion rights violated. Also, the Chair of the Planning Committee was still not accepting they had done anything wrong. I think the CRC church should contact a human rights lawyer. I can recommend Bindmans LLP: https://www.bindmans.com/what-we-do/human-rights-and-civil-liberties

View from Afar
2022-07-29 11:58:18

CRC don’t back out now, Harlow needs more Christian input

2022-07-29 19:47:26

It's a LeisureZone not a church . The purpose of spending public money in setting it up, much of it from Harlow Recreational Trust who supported sports development, was to replace the old sports centre and support the new stem centre Science Alive not a religious faith group. Additionally the Objects of the LeisureZone charity do not any obligation to provide premises for a religious group. In accepting a bid to use the LeisureZone for a Church before other groups the Trustees have not acted in line with the constitution of the charity when it's well known sports groups like gym clubs with a waiting list of 200 children were desperate for accommodation. The vacant space in the building could have been offered to such a sports Harlow group. The church could easily have acquired premises in one of the many vacant privately owned buildings in the Town.

David Forman
2022-07-29 22:42:24

The Council Officer in YourHarlow's film of the original planning meeting made it clear that a church and the previous occupier Science Alive were compatible with the Harlow Local Development Plan and planning policy L2. Subsequently, the Planning Inspector confirmed that Officer's view. The Harlow and District Sports Trust/Leisurezone also supported the church's application. Plus, if some say the empty space should be used for sport instead of a church, how was it later granted permission to be used by a veterinary business in March 2022? Maybe the Vets wear track suits?

Nicholas Taylor
2022-07-30 09:42:25

I think this church showed a lack of empathy towards the views of so many residents who objected to the proposal to locate in the Leisurezone when appealing the planning decision. The Trustees should have withdrawn their offer to lease this space for the same reasons. The church could have looked for a home elsewhere, what for instance has happened to the vacant church at Hare Street?

2022-07-30 09:52:36

Not much Christianity on display.

View from Afar
2022-07-30 10:25:54

Gateway Freedom Church use the church at Hare Street

2022-07-30 12:55:19

I don't really understand why the church still wants to occupy the Leisurezone when clearly it is not wanted by the general public except a minority it seems. Is it more important for the church to have a space to worship or is it more the central location of the site which is their objective, then you have to ask yourself why the central location is so much more important than the space? Obviously because it meets with their agenda of evangelism to the public that use the site, they wouldn't have the same access in another location.

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