Former church to be turned into community hub

The former church, more recently used as a house, could be turned into a community hub.
The former church, more recently used as a house, could be turned into a community hub.

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Plans to turn a former church in the heart of Clachan into a community hub have been given the green light.

At a meeting last week, Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee approved the proposal by the Clachan Village Hall committee, despite 12 objections from the public.

Eight expressions of support were also received for the proposals, which would see Achnaha, a category B listed building constructed in 1878 as a free church but more recently used as a house, changed to a community hub.

Before the PPSL committee meeting, a council planning officer recommended that the plans be approved at the meeting without the need for a public hearing.

The prominent building has been deemed appropriate for community use.
The prominent building has been deemed appropriate for community use.

The planning officer said: ‘Notwithstanding concerns of some people who have made representations of objection on grounds of traffic congestion and road safety hazards directly resulting from the proposed change of use, officers consider that the day-to-day community-type uses typical of a village community hall will be of such modest scale as to have minimal impact on the public/private road infrastructure.

‘In addition, the central village location will offer an opportunity for users to travel to the hall by foot or bike as opposed to a very short car journey.

‘It is noted that off-street car parking provision meets the adopted council car parking standards. The occasions where the hall will be used to its absolute capacity are very likely to be occasional and at such times it has been proposed that overspill parking be provided nearby.

‘It is officers’ interpretation that the issue which has raised most concern relates to the potential impact of some of the uses typical of a community hub/hall facility in close proximity to houses.

‘It is assessed that this is a prominent building with a status that is appropriate to a community type of use.

‘Officers consider that the significant majority of village community activities including meetings, activity and social clubs, coffee mornings etc are capable of taking place within a residential area without detriment to residential amenities by reason of undue noise or disturbance.

‘Officers have also taken into account the representations of support which refer to a sense of community activity and vitality within the village as a positive effect.’

The officer concluded: ‘Having regard to all material considerations, it is considered that the proposed change of use and associated development will provide for a replacement community hall facility to serve the village in accordance with all relevant provisions of the Local Development Plan and will not give rise to any material consideration that warrant a departure from these provisions.’