Derelict chapel could be a danger to children - Mayor

The Queen Street chapel EMN-160215-131610001

The Queen Street chapel EMN-160215-131610001

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Town mayor Angela Birchall has backed calls for East Lindsey District Council to ease regulations on a derelict Horncastle chapel after warning children could be at risk by playing in the building.

The News revealed earlier this month that residents were becoming increasingly concerned about the sate of the privately owned chapel in Queen Street.

They complained it was used as a playground by youngsters and a target for vandals. They also said someone had been living in the building - contrary to planning regulations.

Speaking at a town council meeting last week, Coun Birchsall said she could understand the concerns of residents - and the frustration of the owner who had failed to secure permission to change the use of the building.

She added: “I’ve lived in Horncastle for 30 years and it (the chapel) has always been like that.

“It’s an eyesore. It’s dangerous. I’m worried a child could get in and something terrible happen.

“Surely, it’s time for a bit of common sense.

“Something should be done about the regulations - rather than just let a building go to rack and ruin.”

District councillor Sandra Campbell-Wardman told the meeting she had discussed the future of the chapel with planning officers at ELDC.

She said: “They (planning officers) are not against a change of use. I think you’ll find the problem is more to do with the conservation officer because they will have the final say.

“It (the chapel) is in a conservation area. The owner has come up with several different ideas - but has got nowhere.”

Coun Campbell-Wardman assured the meeting that no-one was living in the chapel and reaveled one of the ceilings had ‘fallen in’.

She confirmed the owner had spent a ‘sizeable amount’ of money on the building. including paying for a new roof.

She added he was reluctant to commit any additional funding - without an indication that the building could be redeveloped.

She said the owner was taking steps to ‘board up’ the building to make it safer.

PCSO Nigel Wass told the meeting there had been one report of children playing close to the chapel. He stressed the area was regularly patrolled by officers and that there was absolutely no indication the building had been inhabited .

He agreed that boarding it up would ‘make it safer’.