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Date Posted: 24/09/11 3:29:03pm
Author: artist
Subject: Re: News:Jewellery Quarter businesses unhappy at plans for Jesus Army drop-in centre
In reply to: Mike (webmaster) 's message, "News:Jewellery Quarter businesses unhappy at plans for Jesus Army drop-in centre" on 24/09/11 9:56:57am

>Title: Jewellery Quarter businesses unhappy at plans
>for Jesus Army drop-in centre
>Website: birminghampost.net
>Date: 23/09/2011
>Link : >href="http://www.birminghampost.net/birmingham-business
>Quarter businesses unhappy at plans for Jesus Army
>drop-in centre

>Jewellery Quarter businesses unhappy at plans for
>Jesus Army drop-in centre

>Business leaders are threatening to leave Birmingham's
>Jewellery Quarter because of plans by a controversial
>religious group to open a drop-in centre and place of
>worship in a former office building.
>Church group The Jesus Army has submitted a scheme to
>redevelop the former office block in Lionel Street,
>near St Paul’s Square, into a centre, including a
>walk-in facility for sex workers, drug addicts and
>asylum seekers.
>Chris Booth, chairman of the Jewellery Quarter
>Association Heritage and Regeneration group, said
>local businesses were concerned about the potential
>impact on the area.
>He said: “At least a dozen business owners have said
>they will leave the immediate area if planning consent
>is granted to the Jesus Army. This area will be
>He claimed there was also opposition to the plans from
>various councillors and police.
>“The safety of residents and customers at nearby
>restaurants and other entertainment venues is
>paramount and this could be jeopardised if the centre
>is allowed to open,” he said.
>Mr Booth was backed by local businessman Tim
>Horwitch-Smith, of LMM Ltd, based in Cornwall
>Buildings, next to the proposed centre.
>He said: “In light of the council’s plan to invest
>huge amounts of money to create a gateway to the
>Jewellery Quarter, the proposed location for the
>centre does nothing to enhance the area, which
>includes the city’s only genuine Georgian Square. It’s
>a complete contradiction to the rest of the area.”
>Another objector, Tony Haran, added: “It is the
>demographic of potential clients that the Jesus Army
>is targeting that is causing the concern for many
>“When the planning application was submitted there
>were over 50 objections, mainly from residents who
>were concerned over the issues of safety.
>"There has recently been a spate of beggars causing a
>nuisance in St Paul’s Square which the police worked
>hard to eradicate.
>"However, it is felt that the addition of the Jesus
>Army centre will require more police to patrol the
>surrounding streets, canals and public places.
>“I have tried not to labour on the loss of value to
>business owners, however, this is very serious. If an
>area is blighted then there will be a significant
>effect on the value of property and business assets.”
>It is thought the Jesus Army paid almost £1 million to
>buy the Lionel Street premises.
>The application to change the use of the site from
>offices to a place of worship, drop-in centre and cafe
>has been submitted to Birmingham City Council by the
>Jesus Army Charitable Trust.
>Plans indicate that more than 200 worshippers would
>attend the centre with 60 volunteers and an increasing
>number of staff as the centre becomes busier.
>An application was submitted to Birmingham City
>Council in June, which was deferred. A public
>consultation period ends next month.
>The group is part of the Jesus Fellowship or New
>Creation Christian Church, founded in 1969.
>It now has 3,500 members in 24 congregations across
>the UK. It also operates an estimated 70 properties,
>including several in Birmingham and the West Midlands.
>The organisation behind the Jesus Army is also said to
>be involved with several business concerns, including
>other religious groups like the House of Goodness, a
>property empire, a health food chain, a firm of
>solicitors and other commercial enterprises.
>It has around £14 million in assets and an annual
>turnover of more than £20 million.
>All of the property, income, and capital donated by
>members, together with land, assets and income of the
>various Jesus Army businesses, is owned, held and
>administered by the Jesus Fellowship Community Trust,
>which is behind the Birmingham planning application.
>Army members frequently stage high-profile recruitment
>campaigns of mainly young people in public places.
>Birmingham’s Broad Street is regularly targeted by
>members keen to increase its presence in the city.
>But there have been frequent allegations that the
>Jesus Army operates as a cult. It has been criticised
>by former members and other more conventional church
>groups for its “authoritarian-style of leadership”
>amid claims members were put under pressure to commit
>to life-long celibacy and hand over their material
>However, John Campbell, a spokesman for the Jesus
>Army, denied the group was a cult.
>“That is a very serious allegation,” he said. “But we
>are a Christian Church and are recognised by other
>church leaders. People are free to come and go of
>their own free will and we seek to do good in the
>He did not deny that some of its members chose a
>celibate lifestyle or handed all their cash and
>possessions to the organisations.
>“That is an option that exists in many religious
>groups,” he said.
>Mr Campbell said the centre would improve the Lionel
>Street and he forecast that fellow residents and
>businesses in the area would welcome the Jesus Army
>when it moved into the premises.
>“Everyone will be welcome to drop-in. There has been
>too much scaremongering and nimbyism,” he said.
>A spokesman for the council said it could not comment
>on current applications.

I seriously doubt JC would like a jesus centre in his back yard either

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