East London's Havering Council has rejected Sheppard Robson’s plans for a ‘mega-church’ in a planning meeting that resulted in the police being called.
The London and Manchester-based firm had proposed to build a super-sized place of worship for client Kingsway International Community Church (KICC) at Beam Reach for a congregation twice the size of St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey’s combined.
It is understood the police were called to keep an eye on the planning meeting after local families and members of the KICC congregation verbally clashed over the proposals.
However, the church could still be built despite the council rejecting the scheme, as the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation is to have the final say on 14 February.
KICC was originally based in a 4ha converted warehouse near Hackney Marshes, but recently relocated after the land was bought through a Compulsory Purchase Order to make way for the site of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The London Development Agency and the Olympic Delivery Authority hope to relocate the community in an 8,000-worshipper church at Beam Reach, a 4ha brownfield site east of the Olympic Park.
If given the go-ahead next month, the church will be built over five phases and will not be completed for another four years, with the first phase involving a temporary structure to provide an initial 5,000 followers with worship space.