Chapel conversion to a home given go-ahead

By Gavin McEwan   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Tuesday 31st May 2022 6:00 am
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A historic but out-of-the-way chapel in a scenic part of Herefordshire can be converted into a home.

Lying between Whitchurch and Symonds Yat within the Wye Valley area of outstanding natural beauty, the Doward or Old Chapel is a Congregational chapel built in 1816. It was refurbished in 1899, and a Sunday school extension added in 1906.

A plan to convert the unlisted building along with the schoolhouse into a private house was granted permission in 1992, but only the schoolhouse was converted.

The owner of the converted house now plans to convert the chapel into separate accommodation.

Whitchurch and Ganarew Parish Council said it was concerned about the stability of the whole site, saying one retaining wall was “in imminent danger of collapse” onto an access road.

They “have received reports that the graveyard to the south of the chapel is slowly moving downhill”, and so requested a geo-technical survey be carried out beforehand.

They also expressed concern about any extra traffic on the minor narrow roads leading to the property.

“Parking spaces reserved for visitors to the graveyard have often been blocked off in the past, to the consternation of the people visiting the graves of loved ones,” it added.

Planning officers made addressing the stability issues a condition of their approval for the conversion.

But they said that while the proposal does not remove the existing parking spaces by the chapel, “the access to the graves, the need to request visits and the chain across the available spaces for visitors are all a civil matter and as such not one the planning department can condition”.

The owners were also required to install “habitat features such as bird boxes, bat roosting features and a hedgehog home”.

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