PLANS to demolish a church to make way for housing have been approved by city councillors, despite opposition from residents.

Brighton and Hove planning committee voted in favour of the demolition of the Baptist Tabernacle in Montpelier Place, Brighton, to make way for two blocks of flats and five houses.

The development approved at the meeting at Hove Town Hall will provide 24 new homes and redevelop the entire 0.35 acre site, which is semi derelict.

Work will soon start to demolish the former Baptist Church, built in 1967.

The site was recommended for planning by council officers despite 53 letters of opposition and a petition with 50 signatures.

Neighbours objected to the loss of the church building, and the increased noise and traffic on the road.

Resident Sally Singer, of Norfolk Terrace, Brighton, wrote in a letter objecting to the plans: “This proposed development is far too large and will completely ruin this area.

“There is not enough parking for the present residents of the area so how will the area cope with more people?

“This is a conservation area and surely this will not work or fall within the bounds of conservation.”

The development will see the construction of one and two-bedroom homes in a three-storey block of five affordable-rent and shared-ownership flats.

The five-storey block of 14 flats will have a car park and ground floor dedicated to community use like a place of worship, nursery or health facility.

There will also be five four-storey four-bedroom houses built.

Neighbours complained about the buildings blocking out light.

Tim Sant, of Belvedere Terrace, Brighton, said in a letter: “I run a dance studio in my living room and there is natural light through the only two windows at the front of the property which is essential for my work.

“It would block the afternoon light, affecting my work and increasing my electricity and heating costs.”

A wall of the five-storey block will obstruct the view of three rooms used as temporary accommodation in the adjacent Abbey Hotel.

Brighton and Hove Islamic centre said it had offered to keep the site for religious use by turning it into a mosque but two bids were rejected by the church in favour of more money from developers.

Architectural technician Richard Mason, representing the development company Mortar Nova Developments, said regeneration of the site was much needed.

He said: “The development will regenerate this site. It has recently been squatted, vandalised and left tin a derelict state seen today, and described as a blight by the neighbours.”