PLANS by a church in Orford to install a portacabin to be used as a community grocery have been approved by the council.

This is despite an objection from a nearby resident who raised concerns over anti-social behaviour.

Bethel Free Church had applied for permission to erect a 20 foot by 20 foot portacabin and a 10 foot by eight foot shed on its Cotswold Road site next to an existing garage.

While the shed would be used for storage, the portacabin would become a community grocery run by the Message Trust, providing affordable food families suffering from financial hardship.

According to documents submitted as part of the application, the current membership levels for the church’s groceries service would indicate an average of 40 to 50 customers each day.

The church would also offer a range of support services, such as money management, healthy cooking classes and job clubs.

The church’s minister wrote a letter in favour of the plans, stating: “It is our hope that by placing this grocery store on our church site, it will lead to further good connections with the local community, and by having more of a presence on the site, it will lead to more positive interactions with local young people.

“The grocery store will bring employment and volunteer opportunities to the immediate area, and it will also be a source of practical support to those who might need it during financially challenging times.”

The portacabin will be installed next to the garage (Image: Google Maps)

The portacabin will be installed next to the garage (Image: Google Maps)

However, a letter of objection was also submitted by a nearby resident, who raised concerns over youths climbing on the roof.

They said: “We strongly oppose the location of the portacabin as it will be right off the back of our garden.

“This will be then be used as a climbing frame for bored kids when the church is closed.

“Over the years, we have had kids throwing objects such as stones and shouting vile abuse off the main building rooftops.

“The positioning of the proposed portacabin will then have these kids directly overlooking our garden, and this will definitely escalate the problems we have already suffered over the years.

“I have young daughters and do not bring them up to speak or behave that way.

“I really do not see why the portacabin could not be built around the other side of the building, as it would not to lead to anyone else’s garden being overlooked.”

Despite the concerns, the plans were approved by the council’s planning department.