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Planning Application Approved for Change of Use of forme Decades nightclub back to its original use as a place of worship. Lion Street.


Former Decades Nightclub, Oakegates, Telford, Shropshire.


Planning Approval for New Place of Worship.

En-Plan were approached to act as the Planning & Architectural Consultants for Peace Chapel International in Oakengates in order to submit a Change of Use Application to Telford & Wrekin Council.  The application was accompanied by a Heritage Statement as the building was a building of local historical importance and as such En-Plan were able to demonstrate the proposed change of use would be sympathetic to the building and the wider area and the application has received planning approval.

The site forms part of the Oakengates Town Centre

Oakengates is a town located in the borough of Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire, England. Here's an overview of its history. The area around Oakengates has evidence of human habitation dating back thousands of years. The Romans had a presence in the region, as evidenced by the discovery of Roman coins and artifacts.

Oakengates developed significantly during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. The town was situated in the heart of the East Shropshire coalfield and became an important center for mining and ironworking. The availability of coal and iron ore contributed to the growth of industries such as iron foundries, forges, and brickworks. The arrival of the railway in the mid-19th century played a crucial role in Oakengates' development. The town became an important railway junction, linking various industrial centers in the region. The railway connection facilitated the transportation of goods and people, further boosting the local economy.

Oakengates has a long history of entertainment and cultural activities. The Wakes, an annual festival held in the town, dates back to the 16th century and includes a variety of festivities, performances, and parades. The Wakes tradition continues to this day. In the 20th century, Oakengates, like many other industrial areas, faced economic decline with the closure of mines and factories. However, efforts were made to revitalize the town, and it has experienced redevelopment and regeneration projects in recent decades. The focus has been on preserving the town's heritage while creating modern amenities and improving infrastructure.

Today, Oakengates is a thriving town with a mix of residential, commercial, and leisure facilities. It has a bustling town center with shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The town is known for its community spirit, and local events and activities continue to contribute to its vibrant atmosphere.

The historic character is captured in the following quote:

“In 1843 the Wellington Congregationalists instituted services in Oakengates, the first being held in a room in the Charlton Arms, Market Street. A Sunday school began at the same time. Oakengates's first minister was appointed in 1846; a schoolroom in Lion Street opened in 1847, and the chapel that surmounted it in 1848. Of brown brick and slate, the chapel has a three-bayed front with brick pilasters, rendered entablature and pediment, and carved consoles to the windows. It was originally four bays deep, and a two-storeyed fifth bay was later added. In 1848 the congregation of 21 gained independence from Wellington. The congregation grew during the later 19th century and between 1855 and 1868 side galleries and classrooms were built. In 1937 there were sittings for 500. The Congregationalists (United Reformed Church) began to share a building with the Methodists when Oakengates United church opened in 1981.” (Source: British History online)

The decision to grant planning permission has been taken having regard to the policies and proposals in the Telford & Wrekin Local Plan 2011 - 2031 set out below, and to all relevant material considerations, including National and Supplementary Planning Guidance:


Telford & Wrekin Local Plan:

SP4 Presumption in favour of sustainable development

BE1 Design criteria

BE6 Buildings of local interest

C3 Impact of development on highways

COM1 Community facilities

COM2 Culture


National guidance:

National Planning Policy Framework


This application is for the change of use of a nightclub to a place of worship. Whilst over time the building has been used for a variety of uses, most recently a nightclub, it was formally a place of worship and therefore reinstating its previous use is considered to be acceptable. Policies COM1 and COM2 of the TWLP support developments which see the introduction of community facilities in district centres, which Oakengates is, and where it provides cultural facilities and opportunities. The scheme is located in the centre of Oakengates and is therefore considered to be a suitable location for a community facility. No adverse impacts would occur as a result of the development and no comments from nearby neighbouring properties or Oakengates Town Council have been received.


The Council’s Highways team expressed concern that the use would usually require a number of parking spaces to be provided, however concluded that due to the sustainable location of the building in the centre of Oakengates, the scheme would be served by a number of public car parks nearby and public transport links are acceptable and therefore have no objection to the scheme. The building is also on the register as local interest building within the borough so consultation with the Council’s Conservation Officer was required. As no external alterations are proposed, the Conservation Officer has no objection as the significance of the building would be retained.

Sustainability Appraisal

a) an economic objective– to help build a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right types is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth, innovation and improved productivity; and by identifying and coordinating the provision of infrastructure;
The proposal ensure the delivery of commercial growth in the Town centre that mirrors the aims and objectives of the core Strategy as highlighted above by bringing more people into it.
b) a social objective– to support strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by ensuring that a sufficient number and range of homes can be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by fostering a well-designed and safe built environment, with accessible services and open spaces that reflect current and future needs and support communities’ health, social and cultural well-being.
In this respect the proposal has a high positive impact upon the welfare of the people attending the place of worship and the Counselling service it will provide.
c) an environmental objective– to contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; including making effective use of land, helping to improve biodiversity, using natural resources prudently, minimising waste and pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change, including moving  to a low carbon economy. The re-use of a redundant building in a sustainable location will bring benefit in terms of its position next to local transport hubs and in doing so preserving an important piece of architectural history in Oakengates for future generations.


Overall, the scheme is considered to be appropriate for its location and would provide a new community facility in a District Centre. No objections have been raised by the Town Council, Council’s consultees or neighbours and the scheme would have no significant detrimental impact upon nearby uses or properties. The proposal is therefore considered to be compliant with TWLP policies and the NPPF.


The Local Planning Authority has acted positively and proactively in determining this application by assessing the proposal against all material considerations, including planning policies and any representations that may have been received, and subsequently determining to grant planning permission in accordance with the presumption in favour of sustainable development as set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

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