Ultimatum over the restoration of Bourne cemetery chapel

The Cemetery Chapel
The Cemetery Chapel

A group trying to restore Bourne cemetery chapel is ready to walk away from the project if restrictions on the building are not lifted.

Bourne Preservation Society has plans to renovate the chapel at the cemetery in South Road but has been stopped from progressing by the Diocese of Lincoln which has a covenant, which restricts the use of the building.

If the issue of the covenant is not resolved by April 30, 2014, which marks the six year anniversary of the society’s involvement in the project, it could walk away from the project.

Society chairman Jack Slater said: “It is time for us to move on and look at other buildings. We can’t hang on forever so we have given them an ultimatum.

“We don’t want to walk away from the project entirely but we will stop communicating with Bourne Town Council. If they come to us without any conditions, with the project shovel ready, we will take it on again.

“We are hoping this might give the council a bit more bargaining power with the diocese if they know there is a deadline approaching.”

On Tuesday Bourne Town Council, which has owned the cemetery chapel since 1974, voted to put forward a list of uses it and the Bourne Preservation Society agree on.

The covenant on the building currently restricts it to being used as a storage and workshop facility for the cemetery and the Diocese of Lincoln is hesitant to release it for projects which are not for Churches in All England groups.

However Bourne Preservation Society feels it would be unable to secure the necessary funding for renovation under those terms.

The society and town council recommend a possible uses as: shops, financial and professional services, a restaurant or cafe, business offices, storage and distribution, hotel or house.

They are also wish to apply for it to be non-residential institutions such as a clinic, day centre or gallery amongst other options but not a nursery or crèche.

The town council will now write to the Diocese of Lincoln with the recommendations.

Mr Slater said: “We believe this building is unique. We believe it is the oldest building of its design. It is also a huge feature in the cemetery which has won two awards with particular mention to the chapel.”

The chapel was built in 1855 and is Grade II listed.