Opposition mounts to Kilmington church plan

Scheme to replace fire-gutted chapel sparks unholy row

PLANS for a new Baptist Church in Kilmington have sparked an unholy row.

Villagers have clashed over the ambitious project to put up the “bold” new building on a field alongside the A35.

The Baptist Trust wants the new church to replace their fire-gutted former village chapel.

They say its “eye-catching and unique” design will provide a “flexible space with easy access”.

But many villagers are opposing the planning application, calling it a “monstrous” building which will increase traffic along narrow Green Lane and its “dangerous” main road junction.

In a letter circulated to villagers, Green Lane residents question the need for a building designed for 150 worshippers - together with a hall, three meeting rooms, two offices, a kitchen, rest rooms and associated storage areas - when official figures show just 16 Baptist members registered in Kilmington.

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They continue: “The plan allows for a huge car park for 34 cars. This will create untold havoc for cars exiting the main A35 road at the Shute Road junction, already the site of countless disastrous road accidents.

“With George Lane blocked by exiting vehicles there will be a build up of queuing traffic waiting to leave the main road, with catastrophic consequences.”

Protesters also fear the new church will “poach” business from the village hall and say the style of the proposed building is not in keeping with local architecture.

They add: “ There are already substantial Baptist Churches in Chard, Honiton, Sidmouth and Lyme Regis, and developments like this should be confined to towns not villages.

“There is already a much more viable plan to either rebuild on the existing church site, or build next to the village hall where existing car parking and other facilities can be easily upgraded to accommodate the Baptist plans.”

Residents have until Friday February 18 to comment on the plans . They should write to The Planning Department, East Devon District Council, Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon EX10 8HL or online at www.eastdevon.gov.uk