Source : 10/08/1999 Northampton Chronicle and Echo
The Jesus Army is planning to take its battle to open a day centre at a derelict Northampton cinema to the Government.
The Christian sect is considering launching an appeal against the borough council's decision to reject an attempt to transform the former Cannon cinema in Abington Square.
Members of the religious group, based in Nether Heyford, have sought legal advice in an attempt to overturn the council's decision.
John Campbell, communications officer for the Jesus Army, said: 'We are confident that the appeal will be successful. The grounds on which the council rejected our application are flimsy at best.'
The appeal by the Jesus Army could lead to a full public inquiry, where both the council and the Christian organisation have legal representation before a decision is reached by the Government.
Other options include a written referral to the Secretary of State, where the council and Jesus Army put their arguments on paper.
A Government inspector could also hold a meeting between the two sides, which would prove a lot less costly than the legal fees incurred during a public inquiry.
The council's development control sub-committee last week threw out a planning application from the Jesus Army.
The group had hoped to open the centre for 'unemployed, homeless and the socially disadvantaged'.
Councillors voted against it, voicing concern over the hundreds of worshippers who would be leaving the building after services.
Any new owner of the Cannon cinema is expected to have to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to convert it.
Mr Campbell said: 'What we are proposing would be of a huge benefit to the community. The building has remained derelict for some time now. If it is left to decay for much longer, nobody will be interested in buying it.'