Mixed reaction for Johnshaven church plans

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Plans to turn a 155 year old local church into flats has been met with a mixed reaction in Kincardine and Mearns.

The plans, if approved, will see Johnshaven church change from a Class 10 non-residential institution into four residential flats.

The application lodged with Aberdeenshire Council has attracted a number of comments both supporting and objecting. At time of publication there was 12 objecting letters and eight supporting letters.

The church was put up for sale back in July 2015 for £75,000 when the congregation shrunk to a handful of members. If approved the current members of the congregation will relocate to St Cyrus.

The design statement for the application states: “To create two bespoke three bedroom, a two bedroom and a single bedroom dwelling on the site of a disused church.”

The building is owned by the Church of Scotland with the sale subject to planning approval being granted. All of the objections come from Johnshaven residents and have noted that the lack of off street parking was a big issue.

Benholm & Johnshaven Community Council as a statutory consultee this week lodged their objection to the application.

The letter from Mr Chris Greene on behalf of the community council said: “The basis of our objection is the requirement for at least 7 additional on-street parking spaces.

“The roads around the old church are at times already heavily congested with residents parking; the addition of another 7 cars would exacerbate the situation with potential to cause animosity between neighbours.”

The community council letter stated that they were in support of the intention to develop the site but urged the applicant to reconsider.

Supporters of the application have noted their sadness of the church not continuing as a place of worship, but welcomed the plans to stop the church falling into a state of disrepair, 75% of supporting letters came from the St Cyrus area.

Colin Dempster, Parish Minister at Johnshaven is supporting the application.

In his letter of support he says: “I believe one of the main objections to this application is the problem of parking.

“While I can see that it may add to the number of cars needing to park around the area of the Church, from my own regular experience of parking around or near the Church building, I have always found a parking space nearby.

“I am sure this would apply to future residents of the ‘converted Church building’ and would not cause the immediate neighbours any concern or problems regards access.”