Church upgrade plans refused

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ELDERS of a town centre church will have to go back to the drawing board or appeal a council decision if they want to go ahead with plans to make their building more suitable for 21st century use.

An application to add two single storey extensions as well as other alterations to Akeman Street Baptist Church, in Tring, was refused by Dacorum Borough Council planning chiefs.

Plans for the 19th century building included a side extension to the north side of the original church and another to the south attached to its Victorian hall and 1960s extension.

The south extension would have been modern in design, attached by a glazed link and built on stilts above the graveyard.

Among a number of changes, they wanted to move wall panels inside, add toilets, replace ground floor pews with chairs and new hall doors.

The church has a prominent place in the town and, among other issues, planning officers felt that the extensions wouldn’t respect its Grade II listing and would have detracted from the historic interest of the building.

Church elder John Heasman said: “We have developed a good relationship with the planning team at Dacorum Borough Council and we will continue to have discussions with them in good spirit as we look to agree on a scheme with them.”

The people working on the buidling project for Akeman Street Baptist Church hasn’t made a decision on whether it will appeal the council’s decision or submit a revised planning application.