Vicar to plead the case for church hall

Rev Stephen Grey
Rev Stephen Grey

The Vicar of St Thomas’ Church, Garstang, the Reverend Stephen Grey, was due to address Wyre councillors today (Wed) in a bid to finally get plans passed for the conversion of the old church hall into four homes.

Wyre planning committee will decide on the plans this afternoon – but press planning officials were recommending rejection of the scheme.

The church needs cash from the sale of the old hall to pay for the finishing of the partially-completed new hall.

The debate over the future of the old hall has been running for several years and took a new direction when the plans to convert it into four homes and build 
another property between the hall and the neighbouring Owd Tithebarn pub were submitted last year.

There have been 10 objections to the proposal with some nearby residents concerned about traffic problems in Church Street being made worse as a result of the proposed development.

There have also been 33 letters of support, mainly from church members who stress the need to find viable economic use for the site and who have voiced fears that the building is in danger of falling in to disrepair.

A report to this afternoon’s meeting of Wyre planning committee says revised plans have dealt with highway objections.

But council bosses are recommending rejection of the scheme because they say anyone living in the proposed development would face unacceptable noise from extraction equipment 
at the Owd Tithebarn.

Council planners say: “The development as proposed would represent a poor development by providing a poor standard of amenity to its future occupiers.

“It would not be acceptable to approve a development which may in the future give rise to potential noise complaints concerning an existing use in the area, such as the public house.”

They add the noise issue has not been “adequately addressed” and the site’s closeness to the pub’s ventilation and extraction equipment “would lead to unsatisfactory living conditions and a poor environment for future occupants resulting in an unacceptably low level of amenity that occupiers should expect to enjoy.”

Churchgoers have written to Wyre saying the council should take action to deal with noisy equipment at Tithebarn.

This afternoon’s meeting starts at 2pm at Wyre Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton. The agenda can be downloaded from Wyre’s website.