Green light for former community hall to be turned into housing

mission hall lowestoft

Mission Hall (right) on St George's Road, Lowestoft, will be turned into housing and another dwelling and parking will be built to the left. - Credit: Google Maps

A bid to turn a former community hall into housing and build another dwelling beside it has been given the green light by council planners.

Members decided to give the green light for the development at an East Suffolk Council planning committee meeting for the north on Tuesday (December 14).

Original plans were rejected in September, for a single dwelling and conversion of the existing Mission Hall on St George's Road, Lowestoft, into two dwellings for a number of reasons, including poor layout design.

But now the Mission Hall will be transformed into a single dwelling with the construction of a two-storey dwelling to the south-west, with a parking area in between.

The new proposal was considered to have overcome the concerns around highway safety and poor layout design that the previous application was refused on.

In August 2020, the Mission Hall was registered as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011, triggering a six-month moratorium period to allow community groups time to develop a bid for the property.

When the moratorium period ended in February this year, without any successful bids having been received, it was deemed unlikely that the building would be brought back into community use.

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Although proposals to redevelop a facility registered as an asset of community value for a non-community use go against Local Plan policy, the council felt there were clear reason to approve the plans - with no objections.

An East Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “The planning committee was unanimous in its agreement that the proposal for redevelopment of the historic Mission Hall would help to safeguard the building’s future.

“Councillors agreed that, with sensitive conversion, the loss of the hall as a community facility would result in a significant impact that would be contrary to the aims of the Local Plan.

“The committee acknowledged that the ACV designation had served its purpose, by offering a community interest group a right to bid, and that in the absence of any successful bids, a residential conversion scheme could be supported.”

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