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Liviu Pazargic / Alamy Stock Photo
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Church News

Edinburgh church facing eviction after neighbours complain about noise during worship

by Sophie Drew

A Midlothian church is facing eviction after receiving noise complaints from residents living nearby. 

Salem International Christian Centre has a number of bases across the UK and Europe, including two in Scotland - Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 

The church was founded by Archbishop Sam Amaga in Abuja, Nigeria, in 1986. 

Archbishop Sam said God told him to "raise an army." 

However, their Edinburgh branch became unpopular with their new neighbours after opening in an old warehouse in a residential estate. 

After a number of noise complaints, the church removed their drum kit in order to appease the disgruntled neighbours. 

Despite receiving a report from sound experts that said the church now met the standards, the council refused to allow the church to operate. 

Neighbours complained about being unable to use their gardens, or being abused by people attending the church, EdinburghLive reports. 

The church called for a review by the council, arguing that the removal of the drums lessens the noise emanating from the place of worship.

The appeal was rejected. 

Midlothian Council responded to claims, saying: "The Local Review Body rejected the appeal against the decision to refuse planning permission for church use of the building because of concerns around noise and the impact on neighbours."

However, the church claims they haven't been told of the closure and are expecting to operate as usual over the coming weekend. 

In a statement to Premier, a spokesperson said: "We have had members of our congregation insulted when coming in for worship services and on some occasions children witnessed their parents being screamed at by very hostile neighbours. This has made some families stay away from coming in for worship. 

"They complained about the sound and in response, we sound proofed the hall at a cost to the church yet they have insisted that the council evicts us. We've now stopped using most things that enhanced our worship services.

"As a church with a growing congregation we have struggled to understand why there is a heightened level of intolerance and hence we decided to bid for a Church of Scotland property, the Newbattle parish church at Newbattle, Edinburgh and won the bid. 

"We want to be able to worship, grow, engage with the community and be the light in our community freely."

Those living nearby have also argued that the local infrastructure isn't suitable to welcome around 60 congregants, due to small paths that may result in people cutting across gardens.

Councillors have also raised concerns about the lack of adequate fire exits. 

 

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