Orthodox church to add domed chapel to former police station building
PUBLISHED: 16:59 18 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:07 18 February 2019
The iconic onion domes of St Basil’s cathedral are one of the most show stopping sights of Russian architecture.
And now a quiet north Norfolk town is to take inspiration from the famous building, after plans were approved for an Orthodox religious church to add a domed roof to the Stalham skyline.
St Fursey’s House, a Christian congregation of fewer than 20 worshippers, have had plans to convert and extend a former police station into a new Orthodox church and meeting room approved by the district council.
The tiny religious community, who used to worship in a purpose-built shed in their priest’s back garden, relocated to the site, on Rivermead, at the end of last year.
But the application to change the building’s use and extend the property, met some opposition from neighbouring home owners.
In an objection submitted in October, Stalham town councillors said: “[We] wish to object as the materials used, height and visual appearance are inappropriate.”
And a public comment from a nearby property owner described the design as “unprecedented in any north Norfolk market town”.
They added: “The proposed design, height, and colour of the bell tower is totally out of keeping with any building in the area.”
Further objections noted an “unsightly” advertising board, and asked: “Will the bell tower have bells ringing in it?”
In a statement in response to the objections, Father Stephen Weston said churches, “as places of worship, normally stand out from the surrounding residences”.
He said: “There is no bell tower, the octagon is to let light into the nave, and is covered with a dome to house the icon of Christ.
“In Orthodox Church worship there are no musical instruments, only the human voice is used.”
The churches response also included a handwritten summary of their accounts and finances to September 2018, showing sources of income, including donations, a charity jar, and candle money.
Plans for the project, drawn up by the Norwich architecture firm Andrew P R Love, indicate a golden dome and a blue roof will be added. The building was last used as a police station in 2016.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) approved the change of use and extension on November 28, 2018, provided “no bells or other audible means of call to prayer” are installed, and “no amplified music or speech” used anywhere within the building.