Norwich church is committed to returning home
By Keith Morris
2009: A large Norwich church, which was forced from its home by a devastating fire three years ago, has restated its commitment to returning to its roots on the city’s Heartsease estate despite having its latest planning application turned down.
Norwich Family Life Church was hoping to erect a temporary building at its existing site on Heartsease Lane for its 400 members and 200-strong youth club, but was turned down by Norwich City Council planners last week (June 11).
Senior pastor, Trevor Pimlott, said: “Although naturally disappointed by the decision, we have always said the church is more than bricks and mortar - the church is the people. So it is back to the drawing board for a building at Heartsease to house the great works, facilities and people. We look forward to establishing our church home back in the area as soon as we are given the green light to do so. Watch this space as they say.”
Although refused planning permission for a temporary structure at Heartsease Lane, planning officers expressed considerable support for a return to the area and acknowledging the good work done by the church and indicated that a phased development may be a way forward.
NFLC is currently meeting at Drayton Hall, owned by the charitable Lind Trust, whose chairman is church member and businessman Graham Dacre. But it will be moving out by October when the facilities there will be refurbished.
Graham is very supportive of NFLC fulfilling their vision back at Heartsease, and said: “Over the last three years we have much enjoyed the company of NFLC at Drayton Hall. Julie and I have re-established many old friendships and made many more. The leadership of NFLC are keen to re-establish the church in the Heartsease area and, after being temporarily located in Drayton for over three years, it is of course understandable. But it has been good to see the premises purposefully and fruitfully used.
‘When NFLC return to Heartsease, Drayton Hall will benefit from changes and now necessary refurbishment works and will again be used for Kingdom purpose. The refurbishment works will take a number of months, albeit the Emmaus Suite will be completed earlier.”
Drayton Hall is owned by the trustees of The Lind Trust, and for 40 years was an NHS maternity home. It became a film set for ‘The Chief’ before being purchased for Dr Bob Gordon and the ministry of Kerygma International in 1991. The Worship Centre was built in 1996 and was used by Proclaimers Church until 2004 when they moved to the Ramada Jarvis Hotel.
Pictured above are Trevor Pimlott and Graham Dacre when the move to Drayton hall was made thre years ago.