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Fire-hit Norwich church to return after 7 years

Norwich Family Life Church is set to return to its spiritual home on Heartsease Lane in the city seven years after the Mount Zion Family Life Centre was destroyed by a devastating fire. Keith Morris reports.

 
NFLCDrawing450Plans for a 1,200-seat church, community and school facilities were today approved by Norwich City Council planning committee.
 
Speaking to Network Norfolk, senior church pastor Trevor Pimlott said he was overjoyed at the decision by the planners: “It has been a long journey and the current application has been underway for almost three years. We are thrilled that our plans have been approved and now are looking forward to working on drawings and quotations and fund-raising so we can make it all become a reality."
 
Trevor said he thought the total cost could be up to £6m and it includes a main worship hall to seat 800 people with a possible mezzanine gallery for another 400, an indoor sports hall for basketball and five-a-side football, a full-sized football pitch outside, an atrium area and large cafeteria, a pre-school and additional classrooms, a children’s play area and creche.
 
The plans show that the new main building will be on the centre of the Heartsease Lane site with car parking, landscaping and a football pitch surrounding it.
 
Trevor said: “We have built up a lot of relationships with people in the Heartsease area over the years and our pre-school on the same site has been going really well with a good recent Ofsted report.
 
“We are looking forward to re-connecting with the community and offering what facilities and services we can to help it.”
 
The plans were drawn up by Mark Nolan of architects Chaplin Farrant. Mark said:  “We have worked closely with the local community and stakeholder groups to design the plans and facilities.
 
TrevorPimlott370“It is first and foremost a place of worship, but as with many modern churches, Norwich Family Life Church are very keen to engage with the local community and its young people and provide facilities which they and others will find attractive."
 
The communal atrium space and cafeteria will be areas where people can sit down, relax and enjoy their surroundings. There is use of coloured glass panels to give it a fresh, modern look. The whole building project is an 18-month one, said Mark.
 
“If we could get started straight away we could probably be finished on site in two years,” said Trevor, “but first of all we have a lot of fundraising to do.”
 
The cause of the fire seven years ago is still a mystery, but Trevor said they still believe that it was arson and certainly not a lightning strike as the night of the fire was wet and snowy.

Read our story on this topic from seven years ago.

Pictured above are artist's drawings of the new church and church pastor Trevor Pimlott.

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