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DANCE STUDIO: Former Middlesbrough church conversion backed

DANCE STUDIO: Former Middlesbrough church conversion backed

Image: LDRS

A DANCE studio’s bid to open up at a former church has been backed after fears of parking jams were allayed.

Natalie Woodgate won permission to convert Ormesby Methodist Church into an events centre at Middlesbrough Council planning committee on Friday.

Worries of parking problems worsening on Pritchett Road and Ladgate Lane saw a 10-0 vote to defer a decision until questions were answered last month.

But, after hearing more details, the committee was satisfied the new studio wouldn’t hit surrounding roads too badly.

Councillors had asked for more details on when competitions would be held at the former church – and how many youngsters would attend classes.

Council reports showed between 25 to 30 children were forecast at staggered times through the week to avoid congestion.

Papers also revealed competitions would be held once a month from February to June, and from September to December – with similar numbers of youngsters attending.

It was also pointed out that a dance school operated from the church for 12 years – and several children walked to classes.

Cllr David Coupe believed concerns about parking had been addressed  in the main.

He said: “The main thing from residents is about not parking on streets.

“I think that will either not occur, or be kept to a minimum, while someone is dropped off.”

Yellow lines on the entrance to Pritchett Road and the offer of white bars on driveway entrances were backed after a request from Park End and Beckfield councillors Brian Hubbard and Mick Saunders.

“I think the vast majority of residents actually welcome this proposal from what we can gather,” said Cllr Hubbard.

“They’d like to see the building come back into use.

“If it wasn’t used as a dance studio, it may become more housing and flats which would cause more parking issues.

“We welcome this – as long as we can find a happy balance for the residents who live along there.”

Karen Deen, who works alongside Ms Woodgate, told the committee how they wanted to create a facility at “the heart of the community” – adding that a lot of residents had welcomed the change.

Ms Deen said: “We do completely understand some of the concerns over parking but we want to reassure people of things we’ve put in place and we plan to put in place.”

She added parents would be reminded about parking and that class sizes would be reduced at the moment due to covid restrictions.

Councillors were also reminded of the staggered start times and how the dance studio was willing to discuss changes with residents.

Ms Deen said: “It’s not only going to be a dance studio, it’s going to be something which serves the entire community and links in with priorities in Middlesbrough.”

The change of use was unanimously approved by eight votes to nil.

Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter

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