Plymouth Brethren rejects fears about meeting hall plans at Barden Ridge

Residents were alarmed when word leaked out the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church is moving into Barden Ridge.

However, the church, which is also known as the Exclusive Brethren, says the hall it hopes to build will be “small and modest”, and the rights of neighbours will be respected.

The church rejected speculation there would be meetings every night of the week and extensive on-site parking.

A resident said she was told by Sutherland Shire Council there were plans for 140 car spaces, but the church said no more than 20 were proposed.

At the time the church purchased the large block of land at  67-71 Barden Road, there was existing development approval for it to be subdivided for five single-dwelling homes.

The church said it planned to use one of the proposed home sites for a hall and sell the other four to the public for housing, with the proceeds to help pay for the hall construction.

The church said an adjacent property, which is already being developed, was owned by a development company with no links to the church or members.

“The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, through the Barden Ridge Gospel Trust, hopes to construct a small, modest meeting hall on a block of land on Barden Road,” spokesman Craig Dowell said.

“The hall would resemble a typical suburban home to ensure it blended in with the surrounding area.

“The trust hopes to file a development application (DA) for the hall with Sutherland Shire Council in the next few weeks.

”A timetable for construction has not been finalised but is anticipated construction will be completed around six to nine months after the DA is approved.

“Meetings at the hall are expected to be held no more than twice a week.

“While plans are yet to be finalised, as with all Plymouth Brethren meeting halls, all parking for worshippers will be on site.”

Mr Dowell said the hall would be for the use of local church members.

“Worshippers car-pool, so we would anticipate less than 15 cars parking on the site at any given meeting,” he said.

Mr Dowell said church members would consult closely with neighbours living near the site and were committed to ensuring traffic and noise were kept to a minimum.

“We take our responsibilities to our local communities very seriously and respect our neighbours’ rights to live peacefully, free of disruption,” he said.

“When planning a new church hall, we strive to ensure the building and its amenities will have minimal impact on the surrounding area and community.

“Our church meetings do not generate a great deal of noise, with no amplified music.

“We also endeavour to come and go from services as quietly as possible.”