Bourne cemetery chapel restoration scheme at a standstill

Bourne cemetery chapel
Bourne cemetery chapel
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A GROUP trying to restore Bourne cemetery chapel is still waiting to find out if its plans have a future.

Bourne Preservation Trust says the “pause button is pressed” on its plans to renovate the chapel at the cemetery in South Road.

The trust, together with the chapel’s owners Bourne Town Council, met representatives from the Diocese of Lincoln earlier this year to ask it to remove a covenant, which restricts the use of the building to an office, workshop and storage area.

But until a decision is made on the covenant, the preservation trust cannot move forward with plans to restore the Victorian building

Trust chairman Jack Slater, of Beech Avenue, Bourne, said it was frustrating to still be at a standstill, four years after the society began its bid to take over the chapel.

He said: “It is a shame that everything is on hold at the moment.

“We still feel positive that if we got that building tomorrow, we would be able to get the money and move forward with our plans but it is hard to feel terribly positive after such an unreasonably long time.

“That building is an important part of Bourne’s heritage and it needs to be repaired.”

If the covenant is lifted, the preservation trust would be able to move forward with plans to carry out an options appraisal, funded mainly by a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which will look at possible uses for the building and the cost of essential repairs.

Mr Slater wants to see the building returned to its former use as a chapel and a place to house people’s ashes and feels confident there would be grants available. But he said other options could be to use the chapel as an office or as a private house.

The preservation trust and the town council would also have to continue to work together on a lease agreement.

The town council’s amenities committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss a letter from South Kesteven District Council’s conservation officer who has inquired about the council’s plans to ensure the chapel’s preservation.

The town council has undertaken a survey, which was completed last week, after a crack appeared in a wall of the chapel.

Town clerk Nelly Jacobs said the council was waiting on the outcome of the survey before making a decision on what work to carry out.

She also confirmed the council was still waiting for a decision on the covenant from the diocese.