Drink and drugs fears with plans to convert church

The Christian Fellowship Church, Bosworth Street,MansfieldThe Christian Fellowship Church, Bosworth Street,Mansfield
The Christian Fellowship Church, Bosworth Street,Mansfield
Fears over drug-taking and street drinking has led nearly 140 residents in Mansfield to oppose plans to convert a church into housing for vulnerable people.

The tide of opinion has forced town planners to delay a decision and organise a site visit to the Christian Fellowship Church, behind Bosworth Street, in Penniment ward.

The application was brought up for discussion during a recent meeting after two petitions containing 139 signatures and 53 letters against the plans were submitted.

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Concerns included an increase in anti-social behaviour, litter and burglary, a fall in house prices and that the site was unsuitable because of the number of families and elderly people living on nearby streets, including Bosworth Street, Simpson Road and Brick Kiln Lane.

The property was acquired by Arena in 2010, but the congregation attendance dwindled to just 12, leading to its use as a church being halted.

The charity identified the site as suitable to convert to a 12-bedroom property to accommodate and help the vulnerable, managed by staff and voluntary workers to ensure residents adhere to the house rules and policies.

The charity proposes to fill the supported living accommodation either by self-referral via links through Arena Church or by referrals by agencies and charities in Mansfield.

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Planning officers recommended approval of the application, saying the police raised no objections and the fear of crime outweighed the actual threat.

Members of Mansfield District Council’s planning committee voted six to five that they should carry out a site visit and defer a decision until the next meeting in May.

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