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Change of Use Planning Application approved for conversion of former Baptist Chapel to new residential unit in Stowbridge, Norfolk. En-Plan: Planning Consultants for Norfolk, Shifnal, Shrewsbury, Telford, Wolverhampton, Oswestry and Shropsire.



Change of Use Planning Application for conversion of former Baptist Chapel to a new residential unit in Stowbridge, Norfolk, approved  by King's Lynn & West Norfolk District Council.

The applicants and owners of the property approached En-Plan: Planing & Architecture to gain consent for the change of use of the historic former Baptist Chapel located off Goodings Close in Strowbridge, Norfolk.

Stowbridge is a small village located in the county of Norfolk, England. It is situated approximately 6 miles south of King's Lynn and falls within the district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk. Stowbridge is a rural village surrounded by picturesque countryside, with the River Great Ouse flowing nearby. The village is known for its tranquil setting and offers a peaceful atmosphere for residents and visitors. While Stowbridge is a relatively small village, it does have some amenities and services, including a village hall and a church. The village is also within close proximity to nearby towns and villages, such as King's Lynn, where residents can access a wider range of facilities.

The application was accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment due to its proximity to the River Ouse whihc is a well-known river and often referred to as the Great Ouse. It is the fourth-longest river in the United Kingdom, flowing through the East of England. The Great Ouse starts in Northamptonshire and flows into the Wash, a large estuary on the east coast of England.   The flood risk assessment received approval from the Environment Agency.   The Environment Agency itseld has taken measurs to prevent flooding from the River Ouse in Norfolk.  Historically, various flood prevention and management measures have been implemented in the region to mitigate the risk of flooding. Some of these measures include:

  1. Flood Defenses: Construction and maintenance of flood defenses, such as levees, embankments, and flood walls, along the riverbanks to contain floodwaters and protect nearby communities.

  2. River Channel Maintenance: Regular dredging and maintenance of the river channel to ensure that it can effectively carry water away during periods of heavy rainfall.

  3. Flood Warning Systems: Implementation of flood warning systems to provide early alerts to residents and businesses, allowing them to prepare and take necessary actions in case of an impending flood.

  4. Land Use Planning: Regulation of land use in flood-prone areas to minimize the impact of urbanization on water runoff and flooding.

  5. Community Engagement: Public awareness campaigns and community engagement initiatives to educate residents about flood risks, preparedness, and evacuation procedures.

  6. Emergency Response Plans: Development and implementation of emergency response plans to coordinate actions during flood events, involving various agencies and local authorities.

It's important to note that flood prevention is an ongoing process, and measures may be adjusted over time based on changing environmental conditions, infrastructure needs, and the latest understanding of flood risk. For the most current and detailed information on the measures taken by the Environment Agency for the River Ouse in Norfolk, it's advisable to check directly with the Environment Agency or relevant local authorities in the region.


The application also received approval from the Conservation Officer as it would preserve and enhance a non designated heritage asset.  A non-designated heritage asset refers to a historic site, building, or structure that is recognized for its cultural or historical significance but does not hold formal designation or protection under heritage laws or regulations. In many countries, certain properties receive official recognition and protection as designated heritage assets, often categorized as listed buildings, scheduled monuments, or other protected designations. Non-designated heritage assets may still possess cultural or historical value, and communities, historians, or preservationists may acknowledge their importance. However, without official designation, they lack the legal protections and restrictions associated with formally recognized heritage assets.

The status of non-designated heritage assets can vary, and their preservation may depend on local planning regulations, community efforts, or the willingness of property owners to conserve the historical or cultural elements. In some cases, these assets might eventually receive formal designation if their significance becomes more widely recognized or if there is a push for their preservation.  In this instance the cultural value of the former baptist chapel has been recognised but the application looks to preserve the building for future generations and the change of use will secure ongoing maintenance  for the heritage asset.

To unsertand how the chapel is no loger in use it is important to understand the history of the Baptist faith in Norfolk, England, is intertwined with the broader history of the Baptist movement in the United Kingdom. The Baptist faith has its roots in the 17th century during the period of religious upheaval and dissent. The Baptist movement traces its origins to the English Puritan and Separatist traditions of the 17th century. Thomas Helwys is often regarded as one of the early leaders of the Baptist movement. In 1611, he and a group of English separatists formed the first Baptist congregation in London. Baptists faced persecution in England for their dissenting views on religious matters and their rejection of infant baptism. Despite this, Baptist congregations grew, and their beliefs spread. The 17th century saw the establishment of many Baptist churches throughout England, including Norfolk. The Toleration Act of 1689 provided some level of religious freedom for dissenting groups, including Baptists. This Act allowed non-conformist groups to worship more openly. Over the centuries, the Baptist movement in Norfolk, as elsewhere, experienced periods of growth and denominational development. Different Baptist associations and denominations emerged, reflecting various theological emphases and ecclesiastical structures. Baptists have been active in missionary endeavors globally. Norfolk Baptists likely participated in or supported missionary work both within the UK and internationally. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Norfolk has continued to be home to a variety of Baptist congregations, reflecting the diversity within the Baptist tradition. These churches may differ in terms of theology, worship style, and affiliation with Baptist associations or denominations.  However, congregations have fallen and as a result many chapels have closed in gthe modern era and been sold off to developers.

Due however to the application being objected to by the Parish Council the application was reported to the January Planning Committee  where it received unanimous approval from members.

If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.


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Shropshire Office


Back Lane

Bomere Heath



Norfolk Office

34 Queen Elizabeth Avenue

Kings Lynn


PE30 4BX

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