Whittlesea councillors have given the green light for a church to open in a Thomastown industrial estate, despite the council’s planners recommending the application be refused.
The Faith and Victory Church applied to use an existing building at Brand Drive for church services and gatherings, leadership meetings and as a base for pastoral outreach.
The church plans to hold evening services on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, as well as Sunday services, and occasionally on Saturdays as well. It anticipates a congregation of about 40 people.
The application drew three objections from nearby businesses concerned that the church was an inappropriate use of space in the Thomastown industrial area.
The objectors raised concerns about the safety of people attending the church, noting that the building’s driveway was shared by vehicles from surrounding industrial premises.
They were also worried about the church’s hours of operation, a lack of parking, and the impact of noise on surrounding businesses.
Council’s planners recommended the application be refused, saying the church had the “potential to prejudice the proper functioning of abutting and nearby employment activity”.
But councillors voted to approve the church’s permit application.
Cr Stevan Kozmevski said the church would be better suited to an industrial area than located in a residential street.
Cr Mary Lalios said she believed conditions placed on the church’s permit, including limiting Sunday services to 40 people, would protect nearby businesses.
“I don’t see a reason why this shouldn’t be approved. It is not a prohibited use in this particular area,” she said.
Mayor Ricky Kirkham urged council planners to inspect the venue once it opens to ensure the church was abiding by the occupancy limits imposed by the council.