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Fire service raise fears over access on plans for Chatteris Baptist Chapel conversion



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Concerns over access for fire appliances and over development have prompted objections to plans to convert a former Fenland Baptist chapel into homes.

TP24 Ltd has applied to convert its former premises at the Baptist Chapel, including a separate building to the rear, in West Park Street, Chatteris into eight homes including two houses and six flats.

However, both the town council and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has raised objections to the proposals.

There are plans to convert the former Baptist Chapel in West Park Street into eight homes. (43398196)
There are plans to convert the former Baptist Chapel in West Park Street into eight homes. (43398196)

In its response the fire service said: "From the information given, the access for fire appliances may be considered in adequate.

"Access and facilities for the fire service should be provided in accordance with building regulations"

Its response continues: "If there are building on the development that are over 11 metres in height (excluding blocks of flats) not fitted with fire mains, then aerial (high reach) appliance access is required."

Dimensions for the fire service's aerial appliance are then given implying the planning application will not provide adequate access for the truck which is 9.6m long with its cage.

Chatteris Town Council discussed the application at its meeting on Tuesday (December 1) and members agreed to recommend refusal on the grounds of "over development within the building" and describing it has an "unsympathetic conversion".

The council also felt minimum standards were not acceptable and raised the problem of parking.

It stated: "Lack of parking will also be a problem as the road outside already has parking problems."

And concludes: " The concerns of the fire service should be taken into consideration."

However, a design and access statement produced by Trundley Design Services, based at Tilney All Saints, on behalf of the applicant argues: "The approach to the design of the site is appropriate in terms of its use, amount, layout, scale, landscaping and appearance and the approach taken to access allows for safe vehicular access to the site."

It also explains: "The aim of this proposal is to make better use of two commercial buildings to generate small business supporting the economy and provide comfortable accommodation to tenants, without diminishing the existing look and feel that comes with the character of the existing building."

And concludes: "The proposed design has thoroughly considered the use of the existing buildings at present and its external extents, features and character, the neighbouring properties, the surrounding area and nature of the sites location."



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