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Should Chesterfield Council be selling off its public assets?

February 19, 2017

 

Late in 2016 Chesterfield Borough Council made the decision to sell off the Chapels that are located in Spital Cemetery.

 

Opening in 1857 to serve Chesterfield and Tapton the Grade II listed building consists of two halves with a Dissenters Chapel on the southern side and Episcopal Chapel to the north. After passing into the council’s ownership the Chapels ceased to be used for their intended purpose and where left poorly maintained and provided little more than storage space.

 

In July of 2011 the lead was stolen from the main roof valleys allowing rainwater to poor in, but the council made not attempt to undertake a temporary or more permanent repair. With water now entering the building it was evitable that the condition would quickly deteriorate and in the following year SAVE Britain’s Heritage included the chapels in their catalogue of buildings at risk.

 

Despite raised public awareness of the neglect the council still did not carry out the urgent works leaving the building to suffer from the elements and instead looked into options for disposal or even demolition.

 

The outcome of these investigations led to the Chapels being put on the market in late 2016 with indications being given that they would be suitable for residential conversion.

 

Being a public asset and located within an active cemetery the proposed disposal has angered many in local community and inspired several to form a new building preservation trust for the purpose of rescuing the building and bringing about a sustainable community use.

 

The loss of a public building within the setting of a garden cemetery with conversion to residential is far from ideal and the proposal of retaining some community use is clearly a better option.

 

The new building preservation trust that is being formed to rescue the Grade II Chapels is looking to gain support and would welcome any offers of assistance. To find out more about this project contact lizcook80@icloud.com

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