Plans in the pipeline to transform historic Essex chapel into a house

PUBLISHED: 16:26 20 January 2011

The chapel

The chapel

Archant

AN historic church could be turned into a family home if plans are approved.

An application is on the table to transform the 160-year-old The Old Methodist Church on Hill Green, Clavering, which had been a children’s day nursery for the last 10 years until its closure in May.

The proposals, if approved by Uttlesford District Council, would see the chapel converted and extended, and change of use permission to turn agricultural land attached to it into a garden and wildflower meadow or orchard.

In their application, designers admit the unlisted former chapel is seen from the road across the village green and forms an integral part of the attractive character of the area and called it a “building of particular visual quality”.

The site previously had consent to be turned into a residential property in July 2000 but that lapsed and expired in 2005. The applicants are re-applying for that permission with extensions to the side and rear of the site.

The application received no objection from Clavering Parish Council or from residents.

Clavering’s local history recorder Jacqueline Cooper, who has studied the history of the building extensively, does not object to the chapel’s conversion into a house, but said certain aspects on the outside of the unlisted building should be retained.

“It would be tragic if the history is lost through conversion, although I realise that some such usage is inevitable,” she said.

“Still, it is easy to do this sensitively having regard to the aesthetics and the heritage aspects.

“I hope officers will include these points in their deliberations and make sure the resulting changes do not spoil this iconic feature on our village green.”

The chapel was erected with the pennies of the very poor Methodist labourers of Clavering in 1877.

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