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Plans to convert 19th-century Northamptonshire church into flats refused

Plans to convert a disused 19th-century church into flats have been thrown out – with objectors claiming they would be “small” and “cramped”. North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) has refused a planning application to convert Independent Wesleyan Church on High Street, Rushden, into ten separate apartments of varying size.

The flats were to be shared across four floors, comprising four one-bed flats and six two-bed flats. Each apartment also had a private kitchen and living area and some contained en-suites, according to floor plans. The building is located on Rushden High Street, and is very close to a variety of retail and commercial shops.

The majority of the work would have been internal changes, with the exterior remaining largely the same apart from window and door additions. The church group has since moved buildings to a new hall on Queen Street, only a short distance from the site.

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Submitted plans laid out no intentions of providing parking or vehicle access points for the flats, instead opting for a bike store located toward the front of the building.

A number of objections were lodged against the proposed flat conversion during consultations. Rushden Town Council objected on the basis that there was no parking provision and that the ten rooms would be “small” and “cramped” due to overdevelopment of the site.

The town council said: “We are disappointed that yet another proposal for small flats has been brought forward when a more imaginative design could have created quality retail and food and drink opportunities.”

The application was refused by NNC for a number of reasons, including unacceptable levels of noise from the surrounding area, limited natural light in some of the flats, an absence of affordable housing within the plans, and the loss of a community facility.

Similar plans to build 13 residential flats at the site had also been submitted by the applicant last year, but were refused. The flats would range from around 53 square metres to 90 square metres in size.

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