Need for more affordable housing in Fulwood forces change of plan on chapel site

The need for more affordable homes in Fulwood has led developers of a new chapel and parish hall to alter plans for new residential units next door.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 24th January 2022, 3:45 pm

The scheme to replace St Martin's Chapel in Broadway was originally passed with a mixture of five affordable homes and nine apartments for over-55s on adjacent land.

But now the Parish of St John the Baptist in Broughton has successfully applied for all 14 units to be affordable after social housing provider Regenda argued there was a greater need in the neighbourhood than for over-55s accommodation.

The old St Martin's Chapel was closed down in September 2019 due to its failure to meet electricity, gas and fire regulations. It was said to be unviable to repair or refurbish and has since been demolished to make way for a new building.

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The cleared site in Broadway, Fulwood in June last year.

The original plans for the replacement chapel and parish hall were revised with the building being down-sized due to costs.

The applicants asked for a "modest" reduction in the building's footprint and roof height to save around £135,000 in construction bills.

The church told the council's planning department that without the cuts the scheme would have been "unviable and incapable of being delivered."

But more than 200 locals objected to the scheme over fears the smaller building would be unable to accommodate all the groups which used its predecessor.

Demolition of the old chapel and parish hall in February last year.

Now the local authority has also agreed there should be a change to the housing element of the site which will be built on what was the bowling green and guide hut.

"The loss of the bowling green is deemed acceptable due to alternative provision in the local area," said a report to the planning committee.

It also said that the new chapel and parish hall would still be big enough to meet the community's needs.

On the housing side of the scheme the developers say: "The provision of all 14 residential units as affordable housing rather than a mix of affordable homes and accommodation for over-55s . . . has arisen at the request of the regional social provider Regenda who have identified a greater need for affordable homes in the local area.

"The proposed change of all the residential units to affordable housing is supported by the council's affordable housing officer."

The planning permission will allow the chapel and parish hall to open from 8am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and between 8am and 10:30 pm on Sunday.