Old factory could become new church

CHRISTIANS without a church building may next week hear good news – with planners giving their blessing to a project to transform a former factory.River of Life Church in Felixstowe has applied to use a former hi-tech factory and office complex as its new church building in order to serve the community in the south of the town, seafarers and portworkers.

CHRISTIANS without a church building may next week hear good news – with planners giving their blessing to a project to transform a former factory.

River of Life Church in Felixstowe has applied to use a former hi-tech factory and office complex as its new church building in order to serve the community in the south of the town, seafarers and portworkers.

The church wants to play a key role in the regeneration of an area identified as the most deprived in Suffolk Coastal and tenth most deprived in the county.

It plans to have 11 full-time and 15 part-time staff working at the church, serving the community in a wide variety of ways.

The 20,000sq ft building – formerly part of the Actaris complex – in Carr Road will be used for worship, church activities and offices.

But it will also be used for mothers and toddlers' groups, youth work and youth clubs, marriage courses, social and education classes and projects.

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The scheme will be decided on Thursday by Suffolk Coastal council's south area development control sub committee and planning officers are recommending approval is given for a change of use.

Felixstowe Town Council has given the River of Life's work a huge vote of confidence by recommending approval should be given because of the over-riding need for the church's work in the area.

The building has been on the market nearly a year and Felixstowe already has considerable empty office space and undeveloped industrial land.

A report from planning officers said that the proposal would be acceptable as an exception to policy as there were other unoccupied and undeveloped employment sites in the area

River of Life started in Felixstowe in 2002 and meets at Brackenbury Sports Centre for Sunday worship. It has grown fast – its congregation is now regularly 150-plus – and the hall is now too small. It needs its own accommodation to expand its activities.

It contributed £30,000 to local good causes in the past year, including supporting the Adastral Close residents and working closely with the Seafarers Centre. The new building would be in the heart of the area it would serve.

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