Owner is keen to solve future of old Horncastle chapel

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A Horncastle businessman has confirmed he is ready to meet with planning officials to try to finally resolve the future of a historic town building.

Andrew Riddel owns a former chapel in Queen Street which is at the centre of concerns raised by residents and town councillors.

Speaking at recent town council meetings, residents have claimed youngsters are using the former chapel as a playground and alleged people have been sleeping in the building without permission.

Mr Riddel says he is keen to re-develop the former chapel into flats but confirmed he only has planning permission for part of the building.

He explained that without permission for the entire building, his plans are not viable.

He admitted the issue had been dragging on for more than a decade and is calling on East Lindsey District Council planners to alter any conditions restricting the re-development.

Mr Riddel told the News: “I know what everyone is saying but unless East Lindsey change their mind, nothing will happen.

“I’m happy to sit down and meet them but we’ve done that before and nothing has happened. That why it (the chapel) is in the state it is.”

Town and district council Fiona Martin has called for a site meeting with ‘all parties concerned’ - including Mr Riddel and planning officers.

Her comments were backed by Coun Brian Burbidge who said he was keen to try to resolve ‘the stalemate’.

Councillors were told Mr Riddel did secure planning permission in 2001. District councillor Sandra Campbell-Wardman said she ‘sympathised’ with Mr Riddel who, she added, had tried to secure permission for the rest of the building - without success.

A spokesman for ELDC said they were ‘happy’ to meet Mr Riddel to discuss the future of the chapel.