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WITHOUT A PRAYER

PUBLISHED: 15:15 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 21 July 2010

Stoke Newington residents are distressed at plans to build a huge church overlooking their back gardens - and claim the council has failed to consult all those who will be affected...

Stoke Newington residents are distressed at plans to build a huge church overlooking their back gardens - and claim the council has failed to consult all those who will be affected.

The Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church (ECFC), a Christian evangelical congregation, whose services are conducted in Amharic, wants to convert a disused nursery on a site they own between the triangle of Green Lanes, Springdale Road and Aden Grove.

But those whose gardens back on to the site claim the church, which will be twice the size and twice the height of the current building, will have harsh implications for the peaceful neighbourhood.

Jon Carter, 30, who lives in Springdale Road, said: "I respect the right and need to worship, but I think it's inappropriate for a small plot at the end of people's gardens.

"I'm not usually a NIMBY, but this is literally in my backyard."

While the nursery was only open weekdays, the church will have evening and weekend services.

"I think it's unreasonable to completely shatter the peace when people are trying to relax and get over work," said Mr Carter.

Dr Ephrem Sahlu, the ECFC office manager, said the church bought the site because of its D1 non-residential use planning designation - meaning it already has permission for worship - and for its accessibility for the 180 worshippers who will be coming from all over London.

But the thought of an influx of cars creating congestion and parking chaos in a quiet residential street is precisely one of the consequences alarming residents, who claim the nursery had little impact as most people lived in the neighbourhood and walked there.

"It's a great worry for all residents I have spoken to," said Mr Carter. "I have met with 100 per cent objection so far."

Even more worrying for him, is the fact that a lot of people are still unaware of the proposal, which he believes will have a massive impact on the area.

FOR THE FULL STORY SEE THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE AVAILABLE NOW.

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