Bedsits plan for church

A FORMER church will be turned into bedsits if a new plan is approved.

Soundwell Spiritualist Church, in Soundwell Road, was put up for sale after closing its doors for good last year.

Developer Mark Bodey, of Kore Property Holdings in Hanham, has applied for planning permission to convert the church into an eight-bed house in multiple occupation (HMO).

But neighbours have raised concerns that plans include no parking for residents, only eight cycle spaces.

Agents R & J Consultants said the developer also owned land behind the church, which already has planning permission for two semi-detached bungalows.

The agents say the HMO plans include two full-size bathrooms, a cloakroom and “suitably-sized communal living, dining and kitchen at the rear”, with a private patio and garden.

Three of the proposed bedrooms are on the ground floor with the other five on the first floor.

The plans involve retaining the facade, using the existing church windows facing Soundwell Road for both ground and first floor bedrooms, and building a first-floor extension at the back in place of a pitched roof.

The agents say the developer wants to install roof-mounted solar panels and replace the gas boiler with two air source heat pumps.

But neighbours have raised concerns over the lack of on-site parking.

One person living in nearby Leicester Square said: “Eight bedrooms means a likelihood of eight people/cars, which really equates to a possible 16 cars, with no parking for any.”

The resident said land at the rear and side of the church could be used for parking some cars, and already has an access driveway.

She added: “I just worry that our already busy road will be used as a car park for these new residents.” 

Another neighbour said it was “unacceptable” not to include any parking in the plans, adding: “It’s a lovely building and I’m glad to see someone wants to do something with it.

“But parking in the side streets is already beyond manageable. 

“No provision for parking is a joke.”

The plans can be seen on the planning section of South Gloucestershire Council’s website, by searching for application P23/02858/F.