Feedback from St Just Methodist Chapel Vision Meeting
Feedback from St Just Methodist Chapel Vision meeting that took place on 21 November. This followed 2 drop in sessions, at the Chapel, where people were free to express their views on the future of the building based on a look around.
Ian Marsh opened the evening by thanking the attendees for being present and summarising the feedback received from the open sessions and comment cards. As part of this he utilised information provided by Marna Blundy from the PDF document you can read here: methodist-chapel-drop-in-ideas
- Cllr Sue James shared the results of her door to door survey to date, explaining that people were offered various options rather than a blank page although additional comments were accepted. This can be read here: chapel-survey-interim-results
- It was agreed that several of the barriers to finding an alternative use for the chapel were conversion costs, issues relating to ownership of the chapel and its Grade II* listing.
- A member of the audience stated that he felt the future of the chapel was to be one of three things: Allowed to fall into disrepair, sold for commercial use, or let the community allocate it a purpose. They shared concerns that the building will be allowed to fall into disrepair and then be sold for housing development. Ian reiterated that in its current condition Historic England would be unlikely to permit conversion to housing, and will be keen to negotiate on a future use for the space in order to keep it open and cared for. He also stressed that the early involvement of Historic England that the group have already secured is very positive going forwards.
- Ian informed the room that the next steps are to allocate an overarching body or charity to lead the project, and potentially act as a landlord to any future occupants for the building. He stated this body could be an existing charity or the formation of new. He confirmed there is a group meeting in January 2017 to look at and discuss this further along with possible funding sources once this body is in place and, following securing of funding, the need for a feasibility study to look at viable options for the space and community.
- Questions and comments were invited, which can be summarised as:
– Is the whole building covered under the Grade II* listing or is the hall separate? IM advised that the listing applies to the main building of the chapel but Historic England will still need to give permission for the hall space and use to be altered, however there should be a greater degree of flexibility to their approach for the hall.
– Can we continue to access the hall for worship? Bronwen Rowland advised that if the building becomes multiple use there is a hope that a space can be allocated for worship to continue. Ian confirmed that his feeling is that it is essential to retain a space for worship.
– Who is responsible if the building begins to deteriorate and collapse? It was confirmed that the chapel remains in the ownership of the TMCP (Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes).
– How confident are the group that a solution can be found and work carried out before the deadline of the end of August 2017? Ian confirmed that he is confident that given the group working on the project and strong community support, he feels that a body can be put in place, significant progress with Historic England can be achieved and grants can be applied for by the end of August 2017.
The update was received positively by those in attendance. It was apparent that the community would be keen for another update in the New Year.