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Decision to block demolition of Beacon Baptist Church in Arnold overturned

The building had closed due to water damage and the discovery of asbestos inside

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A disused Arnold church is due to be knocked down to make way for housing after a decision against the plan was overturned at an appeal.

Gedling Borough Council had rejected plans to knock down Beacon Baptist Church on Killisick Road in April 2023, with councillors saying it would be a “travesty”.

The building had closed due to water damage and the discovery of asbestos inside.

Applicants Direct Land Investment had hoped to knock the church down and build two detached homes and six semi-detached houses.

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A total of 193 people signed a petition to save the facility, which previously hosted an after-school club, a jobs club and a Christmas fair.

The planning committee said it should be replaced with a new community centre for the area, rather than housing.

But the Planning Inspectorate, which decides appeals, has sided with the applicant, saying there were two other Baptist churches in nearby Daybrook and Mapperley that could play the same role.

It added: “Given the length of time that the premises have been closed, any parishioners have made alternative arrangements where necessary, so there is no need for replacement premises to be provided.”

The building was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2021, meaning community groups would get the opportunity to express an interest in it if it became available.

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However, no firm offer has ever been made, with the state of the building being a key issue.

Councillor Henry Wheeler (Lab) said in the 2023 planning meeting: “The Beacon was a very valuable community hub in Kilisick, an area with a lot of needs.

“It would be a travesty to see this turned into residential development.

“I am all for the building being demolished but I would like to see it replaced with a new community hub.

“There’s a desperate need in that area.

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“That site has so much potential.”

Councillor Paul Wilkinson (Lab) said: “This is one of the most deprived communities in the borough and it is vital that appropriate resources are provided.

“We know what the Beacon site has been and what it could become again.”

The recent decision by the Planning Inspectorate is due to be discussed at the planning committee on Wednesday, February 28.

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