An Exmouth church hoping to halt vandalism, abuse of volunteers, and drug-dealing in its grounds has been given the go-ahead to install CCTV cameras.
District council planning chiefs approved the scheme at Holy Trinity Church, in Rolle Road, as it was seen as ‘a necessary security measure’.
Seven cameras will cover the interior and exterior of the holy landmark.
The bid had previously won the backing of town representatives – who said there had been ‘some quite nasty incidents’ at the venue.
Granting the application permission under delegated powers, an East Devon District Council (EDDC) officer said: “The position and design of the units have been carefully considered and are seen to be reasonable within the context of the building.
“No objections have been raised to the proposal and it is considered that there will be minimal visual impact through the installation of the cameras, which are seen as a necessary security measure.”
Littleham cum Exmouth Parochial Church Council treasurer Robert Soutter had told EDDC of problems inside and outside of the church.
Mr Soutter said ‘petty vandalism’, ‘abusive treatment’ of volunteers in the church coffee bar, and candles being lit had resulted in the premises having to be kept locked.
He also referred to incidences of ‘drug-dealing and drug abuse’, rough sleepers and other ‘undesirable behaviour’.
“The police are recommending the installation of cameras,” said Mr Soutter in correspondence with EDDC.
“The installation of cameras will not impact upon the church in terms of historic fabric.
“The location of each camera has been researched, checked and subsequently approved by the Diocesan Advisory Committee, some members of whom have physically visited the site.”
Exmouth Town Council’s planning committee supported the CCTV plan in January.
Councillor Lynne Elson said there had been ‘a number of difficulties with people in the grounds and in the foyer’.
Cllr Brian Toye added: “There have been some quite nasty incidents there, so it is necessary from a security point of view.”