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In a decision of 4th January 2016, The Planning Inspectorate dismissed the Appeal of the Parochial Church Council against the decision of Epping Forest Council to Refuse permission for the demolition of St Elisabeth's Church.

You can view the decision, plans and documents on www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk/iplan. Click on Planning Search and then insert EPF/0097/15 in the application number box.

At the 3rd June 2015 meeting of the Area Planning Sub-Committee South planning permission was refused for the demolition of St Elisabeth's Church, Chestnut Avenue, and the erection of 7 flats and 7 houses.

The Society spoke in objection to the proposal as follows:-

"We would be sad to lose a "locally listed building".  We understand that the current building is no longer required as a working church, although I also understand from local residents that this may not be the case and the church may not be redundant.  We also do not feel that all avenues have been considered for adaptation to some other community use.  The church was provided by a local benefactor as a multi-purpose building for the good of the local community, the limited size of the proposed communal space severely limits the activities that can be provided.

Now that the plans have been amended to actually fit the buildings onto the Church site we still have concerns over the amount of work required to the trees that do not appear to be within the site curtilage.  Our main concern, however, is to the change of the street scene and particularly the elevational treatment of the Chestnut Avenue frontage.  In the Heritage Report it states "The replacement building has been designed to be sympathetic to the style and character of the original church".  The houses in Chestnut Avenue are generally a mixture of render and facing brickwork and the church is entirely facing bricks.  On the proposed Chestnut Avenue houses we cannot see any facing brickwork, how this is "sympathetic to the style of the original" is difficult to understand.  We especially object to the detailing of the three storey houses adjacent to the existing properties in Chestnut Avenue.  The change in roofline to the first house makes the appearance disjointed and the inclusion of zinc cladding panels has no place next to a 1930's house.

Architecturally the design would be improved with two storey three bedroomed houses.  If the additional bedroom is required why can it not be designed into the roofline as has happened elsewhere in Chestnut Avenue. with windows at the rear and Velux style windows to the front?

Finally if the development is approved can we add a condition that a detailed photographic record is made of the existing buildings to be lodged with the Council for future generations, and although not strictly a Planning issue, we would wish to see the name St Elisabeth with an "s" continued to be used for some part of the development.

We therefore call for this application to be refused."

 A representative for St John's then spoke for the application.  Following an extensive debate Cllr Wright proposed that the application should be refused, this was seconded by Cllr Pond.  the vote was 13 for refusal, 1 against the refusal and with 2 abstentions.


The discussion can be viewed from the EFDC Webcast Library, here