Church at hub of Carlton Colville plans

PUBLISHED: 08:29 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:25 05 July 2010

AMBITIOUS plans to spend millions of pounds on building a new church and community centre for an expanding community on the outskirts of Lowestoft have been revealed.

AMBITIOUS plans to spend millions of pounds on building a new church and community centre for an expanding community on the outskirts of Lowestoft have been revealed.

The development is earmarked for a 1.6-acre piece of land in Carlton Colville and will feature a one-stop shop for many community facilities, as well as a new base for the local Methodist church.

Minister Ian Cartwright is heading the project to relocate the church from its current base at Shaw Avenue to the new site on the corner of Carlton Meadow Park and Lowestoft Road.

He said: “We are trying to provide something for the community that is owned by the community. Everybody is on board and excited about it.”

The idea for a new church and community centre came from a major survey carried out in the Carlton Colville area, which has seen thousands of new homes built in recent years.

It is proposed that the new building will feature a large hall, café, crèche, exercise facilities and a post office, as well as being a place of worship. Outside, there will be a sensory garden and allotments, with a link to the neighbouring park via a bridge.

The new building would be available for a wide range of community services, including after-school clubs, wedding receptions, conferences, and will even provide its own cinema.

Negotiations with the landowner to buy the site are ongoing and project managers will need to get permission from Waveney District Council before construction work can start.

Mr Cartwright said religion would play a major role in the new development, but insisted it would reach out to all members of society.

“The three main factors are health, education and Christian spirituality,” he added. “We want it to be all very natural and if people want to engage, then that's fine.

“It's not about bums on seats and putting the Bible in people's faces. It's about creating a community and providing the facilities that are missing.”

The exact cost of the project has yet to be revealed, but Mr Cartwright said a large slice of the funding would be provided by the Methodist Church nationally. The future of the current site is still under consideration.

The new building will be environmentally-friendly, with features such as rainwater harvesting, and will be designed to fit in with the neighbouring park.

Ken Sale, a county councillor for the Carlton Colville area, said: “I am fully behind this scheme and I am going to push it all I can. It will be fantastic for the whole area, not just Carlton Colville.”

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