NFLC set to rebuild £5m church at Heartsease
Norwich Family Life Church (NFLC)
is set to return to its Heartsease
roots to build a 1000-seater church on the site where the Mount Zion Family Life Centre
burnt down two years ago.
Its thriving pre-school, parent and toddler groups, and support for the elderly, have continued from the Heartsease site during the last two years with other children’s outreach activities being housed in Heartsease school since the fire.
The decision for NFLC not to go ahead with the 1000-seater building on the David Rice Hospital site in Hellesdon was announced to church members on Sunday (May 25).
NFLC senior pastor, Trevor Pimlott (right),
said: “There were a number of restrictions to the size of construction that would be considered by planners for the David Rice site and after a long consultation process it was determined by the NFLC leadership team that the facility which could be built on the Heartsease site provided greater scope to benefit Norwich and the local community.”
NFLC church member, Graham Dacre, whose Lind Trust owns the David Rice site, will still be submitting building plans for this 32-acre location and hopes that in the future the plans to use it for church and community may still be realized.
Trevor said: "As time has gone on, it has become increasingly apparent how deep our roots go down in the Heartsease area. Our friendship and love for the people of Plumstead and Heartsease, our enormous desire to bring greater transformation to this side of the city and our heart to reach the practical needs there have been compelling factors in this decision. We believe it is easier to bring change, and the much needed support from within, than from the other side of Norwich.
“We want to be back where we belong and to build bigger and better facilities for the use of that community and indeed our city."
NFLC have been talking to city planners for a few weeks about a building with a 1000-seat auditorium and more community facilities than would have been possible at Hellesdon. The estimated rebuild costs are in the region of £3m to £5m, dependant on the type of building the planners will endorse.
Graham Dacre (right) said: “Having made the Heartsease site available 18 years ago to Mount Zion for a church and community centre, I am really pleased that it is going to remain other than redundant and undeveloped.
“I look forward to seeing the new church arise from the ashes. It will undoubtedly be bigger and more attractive than the former Mount Zion facility.
The Heartsease site is adjacent to the new Open Academy, of which Graham Dacre and the Bishop of Norwich are sponsors and which opens in September.
Trevor indicated that NFLC would be keen to work together with the Academy and Graham said: “A new church adjacent to the proposed new school should produce synergies that result in local community benefit. The leadership team of the Academy would undoubtedly welcome any contribution that NFLC is able to make on behalf of all who attend the school in the future.
‘The plans for the 32-acre David Rice Hospital site, which was purchased ten years ago, will be progressed as planned," said Graham.
“Hopefully, in due course, the huge amount of work that has gone into the plans drawn up by architects Feilden & Mawson over recent months will prove to have been of value. They provide for a fantastic facility. Planning consultants, Les Brown Associates are confident that within three or four weeks the formal planning application will be with Broadland District Council.
“We currently sense that the site will ultimately be built as planned. Who knows, maybe there will be a second NFLC. As they say… ‘Watch this space’.
Pictured top is the fire at the Mount Zion Family Life Centre back in February 2006. (Picture courtesy of EDP)