Jan 17, 2017

Villagers tell cult: you're not welcome

The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church want to build a new 500-capacity meeting hall on the site of a riding school. Villagers have raised concerns over the appearance of the panned building at the “insular” nature of the sect
Gabriella Swerling
Northern Correspondent
The Times
January 17 2017

Villagers in Cheshire are alarmed at a secretive hardline Christian cult’s plans to set up a new meeting hall.

A group of residents in Mobberley objected to a planning application made by the Exclusive Brethren, also known as the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, to convert a riding school into a “big brick monstrosity”. They also raised concerns about the “insular” nature of the sect.

More than 1,000 people have joined a Facebook group opposing the plan. Its founder, Sarah Irlam, 45, who lives next to the proposed site, said: “It’s a great big prison-looking building with metal gates in the middle of the countryside.

“They don’t mix, they will not be going to the local pubs, shops or schools. They are not going to bring anything to the village.”

The Brethren, which has about 17,000 members in the UK, insisted that the group was friendly and communicated with local communities. It said that it had outgrown its regional headquarters in Hale, Greater Manchester.

A spokesman said: “Brethren families live in the village of Mobberley and are well known by neighbours and residents. Interaction is extensive both in the workplace, towns we live in and in our charitable work.”

The highly restricted and tightly controlled lives of the cult’s members were revealed by The Times in 2015. They believe that the rest of the world is evil and shun modern conveniences such as television and radio. Members are expected to socialise only with each other.


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