By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter
A nine-storey tower block will be built behind an 85-year-old former theatre as part of a church’s expansion plans.
Plans to construct 43 flats and offices in a building on the House of Praise’s car park in Camberwell were approved by Southwark councillors at a meeting last week.
The tower block will also include a new hall for the pentecostal church which has a congregation of 1,600, mostly living in Southwark.
Under the plans, the number of car parking spaces at the church would be slashed from 50 to 22, with worshippers provided with minibuses instead.
The remaining parking spaces on the site would be reserved for pastors and visiting preachers, as well as minibuses and wheelchair users.
Despite this, councillors said they were disappointed the church hadn’t tried to get rid of more parking spaces given the area’s good transport links.
Jane Salmon, Liberal Democrat councillor for Surrey Docks, said: “[I’m] not so keen on the car parking spaces. I think more can be done.
“I absolutely agree with the minibuses but I think more could be done to encourage people on Camberwell Road, one of the busiest roads, to come by public transport or bikes.”
Cllr Salmon went on to vote in favour of the planned building, saying it didn’t have enough problems to justify turning it down.
Andrew Adeleke, senior pastor at the House of Praise, said the new building would allow the church to provide more activities for local people.
He told councillors: “We had in our mind to improve the facility and render more services to the community.
“That’s why we’re here tonight. We need this planning permission to finance the community facilities that we are running and what we intend to run.”
Of the 43 flats to be built, 16 would be classed as affordable, split between 10 at the cheapest social rents and six available as shared ownership – where an individual buys part of a property and pays rent on the remainder of it.
Hexagon Housing Association has expressed interest in taking on the affordable flats.
Pictured top: CGI of planned tower block from Cottage Green (Picture Southwark council planning documents)
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