WORSHIPPERS are rejoicing after a popular church was granted permission to expand and embark on a huge revamp after increasing congregation numbers.

Kingswood Baptist Church, off Clay Hill Road, in Basildon, will build a brand new two-floor facility capable of holding more than 300 congregation members, complete with a new reception area, hall, creche, roof terrace and underground parking.

The church says it has outgrown its current facility, which attracts 200 worshippers a week, and has exhausted all other options.

Stuart Elmes, minister at Kingswood Baptist Church, previously said the expansion was needed to allow the church to continue playing an integral part in the community.

An application was initially submitted last summer, before being pulled for further consideration.

Minor changes were made and this application was submitted.

In its application, the church wrote that it intends to provide “a high-quality, creative and welcoming centre for the church”.

It reads: “It aims to bring about regular meetings and one-off events and functions.

“Rooms and meeting spaces are multi-functional, to meet existing demands as well as capable of adaptation for future use.

“Internally, the ground floor spaces links the new building with the existing, acting as a circulation hub.

“On the ground floor of the proposed building, a new office reception is located at the entrance to provide management and passive surveillance.

“Additional toilets and stores are also provided, together with a large passenger lift and stairs.”

The proposals were recommended for approval by planning officers, before the planning committee approved the plans at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The officers recommendation read: “Overall, the proposed works will provide a much improved community facility, and whilst it will give the church more prominence in the street scene, it has been designed to minimise its bulk and height.

“It has also been designed to mitigate any direct impact on the occupiers of adjoining residential properties.”