Bid to move clinic to church’s listed house

DM159321a.jpg Ifield community backs planning bid for church owned listed building. The reverend Simon Newham is in front. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150831-210756008
DM159321a.jpg Ifield community backs planning bid for church owned listed building. The reverend Simon Newham is in front. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150831-210756008

A couple has made a planning bid to move their osteopathy clinic to a Victorian Grade II Listed building owned by their church.

St Margaret’s Church’s Rector Simon Newham backed Bridgeham Clinic’s proposals for 1 Lychgate Cottage, Ifield Street,in the Ifield Village Conservation Area.

If approved, an extension and air conditioning units and internal alterations would be made. The building’s use would change from community church to clinic and a new outbuilding a vehicle crossover would be made with the destruction of existing unlisted garages and sheds.

It was proposed the extension and repairs would provide a shared space for the clinic and church to use. The development would allow its groups to use a meeting space when the clinic was not open.

Rev Newham said: “The majority of people in that area think it will be a lot better and will give a building that will be of much greater community usage in the future.”

He said the church wanted to redevelop the building which was ‘very inadequate’ for community use because of its poor state of repair. Jo and Trevor Strutt agreed to pay for the repairs and be paid back through a 20 years’ worth of reduced rent for their clinic from the church.

Annie Pearce, who lives next door to the cottage, raised concerns over the proposals. She said an estate agent had estimated her £400,000 home could lose up to 25 per cent of its value if the planning application was approved by the council. She believed it would look like an out-of-place ‘John Lewis’ store in the historical area. She raised noise concerns caused by the proposed air conditioning units.

A planning document said the extension at the rear of the building had a modern design which followed advice from borough council officers.

Rev Newham, of Rusper Road, Ifield, said: “The front is a historic-looking frontage which will remain untouched.

“The back which is a bit of a mess is where the actual development is taking place and it will be a vast improvement.”

The design and access statement added: “Whilst there might be some limited additional traffic generated by the proposals this would be modest compared with the pre-existing use of the building and the general traffic which occurs along the access way to the rear of the site (traffic relates to the existing Bridgeham Cinic, Barn Theatre, The Plough Public House, other residential properties along the access road and the Church). The track is also used by dog walkers who drive to the car park and walk their dogs in the adjoining fields.”

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