December 6 2013 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A Romford church group was told to come back with a more “honest” application after Havering Council put the brakes on its request to repurpose an office block.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God Jubilee House had asked for permission to turn the three-storey North Street building into a “worship and educational facility”.
But Cllrs Barry Oddy and Barry Tebbutt criticised the lack of detail in the proposal, which said it would provide a worship space, teach children – including those with autism – and house a live-in pastor and caretaker.
“There’s no indication there’s a need for education for autistic children, and no mention of how many teachers or classrooms there would be,” said chairman Cllr Oddy.
Cllr Rebecca Bennett said: “As wonderful as the services they wish to provide are, there are too many things going on in one building – homeless people, vulnerable children, counselling and capacity for 90 people.”
A previous application on the same site for a worship centre and a homeless hostel was refused because it was deemed likely to attract homeless people from outside the borough, and councillors said this carried a risk of antisocial behaviour.
Thursday’s application, which was sent away without a decision so a clearer case could be made, didn’t refer to the provision of a hostel, but the council’s report expressed concerns that “the applicant does have close links with the applicants of the previous application.”
The only letters of support received for the application made reference to the proposal benefiting homeless people, something it was not apparently supposed to do.
Cllr Tebbutt said: “I don’t believe there’s a lot of honesty in the application.”
Decision on the plans was deferred.
A 41-year-old man has been stabbed at an address in Harold Hill.