September 2 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 7, 2014
From dinner service to church service – a former Little Chef is to be transformed to a place of worship.
Thousands of hungry travellers would have stopped off at the restaurant on the old A14 in Haughley, near Stowmarket, over the years.
But now after sitting empty and looking a little tired, the Gilgal Pentecostal Church could be moving in from its existing home in Bury St Edmunds.
Sunny John, pastor, said: “We have been looking for a place for a long time, we have been in Bury St Edmunds for 11 years.
“Now we have found a place, we are asking for planning permission.
“It’s a quiet place and most people have got cars, we have families in Stowmarket, Hadleigh, Sudbury and Needham Market so it would be more convenient for them as we would be more in the middle of the county.
“We are looking forward to the move, we have found a place where we can put on more community programmes.”
He said the church, which has 120 people in its congregation, was hopeful of moving to Haughley by the end of year if the plans were accepted.
Phil Cobbold, planning consultant, said: “The building has been vacant since the road moved, it’s not going to open as a restaurant again I would not imagine. I think the building has been on the market for a while and it suits the applicants needs, it’s good reuse of a vacant building.
“It’s not completely unusually for this to happen, there are other examples of churches operating from other locations like former car showrooms.
“Religious groups do not necessarily need a traditional church in a village location – we have got one here in Felixstowe which opened from a factory.”
The church also has community prayer meetings in Ipswich, Colchester and Kings Lynn.
It is under The Assemblies of God, a pentecostal denomination which has around 650 churches around the UK.