Enabling Development

Church Converts initially looked at whether a viable scheme could be brought forward that only used the main chapel building, however it was clear that to achieve critical mass and deliverability, not only did the main chapel need to be converted, but the former Sunday School would need to be included as well, plus additional accommodation somewhere else.  Both these aspect caused serious issues.

Firstly, the Sunday School was in use as the Islamic Academy, which had occupied the building since 1973 and at times had sought to use the entire site.  Church Converts would need to get vacant possession, which in turn meant ending the tenure of a religious body and helping them find a new home.

Secondly, the only two options for finding additional developable area were to take the building higher and hence build above the current roofline, or build on the graveyard.  Both these proposals represented ‘enabling development’, i.e. development which is not in accordance with planning policy but which would be permitted in order to save a historic building.  Discussions with the Conservation team and Historic England concluded that limited development on the graveyard was preferable to raising the roof, provided it was only just enough to achieve viability.