Sect's plan opposed

Diamond Valley Leader, Australia/September 4, 2011

A group of Greensborough residents have rallied to stop a Christian group moving into a local milkbar.

The Exclusive Brethren have applied for a place of worship at the former Sunrise Drive Convenience Store.

Residents worried about potential traffic and noise impacts met twice last week and have sent dozens of objections to Nillumbik Council.

Resident Vicky Bruce said the church did not belong in a residential area.

“We’re concerned that they will be there between 6am-7am, which means we’re going to be woken up by about 30 cars,” Ms Bruce said.

“They have late-night prayers, as well, so you’ve got people coming home from work, adding to traffic congestion in this area, which is already stressed along Aquaduct Rd.”

But Brethren spokesman Richard Kelsey said the church would be used by fewer than 50 people - “families attending quiet religious services” - at set times twice a week.

He said a traffic engineer had determined the church would not cause congestion.

“On occasions visitors are invited to an additional service, but the facility will never be used more than 6 hours a week,” Mr Kelsey said.

Ward councillor Belinda Clarkson said the church could have an “unintended and possibly detrimental impact on the character of the area”.

If approved, it would be the group’s sixth site in Nillumbik, with places of worship at Eltham, Research and Diamond Creek, where there is also a 2000-seat prayer hall.

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