Plans for a former pub to be turned into a conference venue for an international church charity have been rejected.

The proposals would have seen The Highgate in Whitchurch extended and refurbished to provide 11 en-suite bedrooms and a dining hall, with the addition of a community hall building.

However planning officers have concluded that use of the hall would lead to too many extra vehicles for the 17-space car park, and refused to grant permission for the change of use on highways safety grounds.

The 1930s building closed as a pub in 1996, when change of use was granted for it to become the new base of local removals business Denmans.

The building is now empty after the company relocated, and has been bought by the Philippines-based church Free Believers in Jesus Christ.

The church currently has 13 bases across England, including one in Shrewsbury.

In a statement submitted with the planning application, the charity said it was “keen to open its doors to the local community for use by local societies, clubs, social events and gatherings”.

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However highways officers raised concerns about the number of people attending events in private vehicles.

They said: “In light of the scale and nature of the proposed development, the proposal raises concerns on the adequacy of the parking provision.

“The submitted information currently appears to focus on potential traffic movements over a period of time, when a community facility hired out to a third party that hosts a party, for instance, could potentially generate a peak flow and parking demand to accommodate those guests.”

Public protection officers also said noise from the extraction system “is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the surrounding properties”, and said further information was needed.

Six members of the public objected to the plans, citing concerns over noise, traffic, crime, and the potential that nearby properties would be de-valued.


The planning officers’ report concludes: “The proposed hotel would lend to the economic dimension of sustainability by generating additional income locally, through the increased spending of visitors on goods, services, businesses, and attractions in the area, and providing new employment opportunities.

“The principle therefore for conversion would be considered acceptable.

“The proposed community hall, kitchen and bedroom extensions in relation to layout, scale and appearance would not be out of character with the existing building or impact on residential amenity, whilst adequate safeguarding conditions can be imposed to prevent impact on neighbouring properties from noise and odour.

“However, the proposed community room is likely to result in a significant increase in customers visiting by car and the proposed layout would appear to provide minimal provision for these customers if all the existing bedrooms were occupied.

“Inadequate information has been submitted to justify the limited number of spaces allocated for the community room which is likely to result in additional on street car parking and potential highway safety issues.

“If the function room was removed from the proposal with the provision of additional car parking for customers and staff then officers are likely to be able to support this scheme.”