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Community group want to make chapel “ours”

Times Echo and Life / All News / Community group want to make chapel “ours”
1 month, 14 days agoNo Comments.
21 OCT

Community group want to make chapel “ours”

By timesecholife on in All News, Latest News

A community group in a Moorlands village is aiming to purchase a disused chapel building to have it “run and supported by the village for the village.” We reported in June this year that the Staffordshire Moorlands Methodist Circuit had announced proposals to sell the Kingsley Holt Chapel and it’s land but that members of the Kingsley Holt community were “taken aback” by the news and wished the premises to remain for community use.

A community group in a Moorlands village is aiming to purchase a disused chapel building to have it “run and supported by the village for the village.”

We reported in June this year that the Staffordshire Moorlands Methodist Circuit had announced proposals to sell the Kingsley Holt Chapel and it’s land but that members of the Kingsley Holt community were “taken aback” by the news and wished the premises to remain for community use.

Since then, the Kingsley Holt Residents Group has been set up which subsequently successfully applied to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) for the building and land to be registered as a community asset.

A community asset bid allows communities to nominate buildings or land for listing by the local authority as an asset of community value.

If the asset comes up for sale, the community can ‘pause’ the sale and take up to six months to find the funding required to buy the asset.

The decision to grant the registering of the Kingsley Holt Chapel as an asset of community interest was made, through ‘Cabinet Delegated Decisions,’ by councillor Mike Bowen, who is the SMDC Cabinet member for Communities.

Kingsley Holt Residents Group (KHRG) have since carried out a public consultation in the village regarding the proposed sale of the former Methodist Chapel building in Kingsley Holt.

The group held an open meeting at Thornbury Hall earlier this month to discuss and share the results of the survey.

A spokesman for the group told the Times & Echo: “The meeting was well attended and by voting overwhelmingly in favour of the group registering an interest to bid with SMDC under the ACV legislation confirmed the level of support for the groups aims shown by the survey results.

In response to the survey question: “How important do you think it is to try and purchase the Chapel as a community venue,” 67 per cent responded “Extremely Important” and 23 per cent “Somewhat Important,” demonstrating that 90 per cent of those responding were in favour of purchase for community use.”

The spokesman further explained: “KHRG registered their interest with SMDC on October 13, 2021 receiving confirmation that a six-month moratorium period starting September 6, 2021 is now in place.

KHRG now have only a few months in which to try and negotiate with the Methodist Church, raise funding and try to secure the future of a vital village asset.”

They added: “Back in 2018 we had already started to look at how and when the community used this building, we found that the use was sufficient to meet running cost and we therefore started a project to try and secure the building as a social hub for the community.

Many of the activities taking place at the chapel benefited the younger generations giving an important and valuable opportunity to engage with this age group. Youth club and after school clubs were also being considered, opening the buildings on regular days a week for everyone to have access.

The building has broader uses and potential, as a result of it being closed by its current owners many people found voting in the last elections difficult because our local polling station wasn’t available.

We are struggling to find places within the village for groups to meet, hold AGMs, plan fund raising events, parent and toddler groups, knit and natter and many other groups can no longer meet in the village. All of this is making it much harder for our community to come together and be the strong vibrant community it has always been.

Over the years much time, effort and money has been invested in this asset, it has become an important part of our heritage, something that we can take pride in, point to, and say we did that, that’s ours.

We don’t want to see something that so many have invested in, with so many memories, redeveloped and lost forever, we can’t just sit back and see it fall into private ownership.

That is why we are trying to buy the chapel, that is why we are trying to set up an organisation, run and supported by the village for the village, that will look after it, invest in it and protect it for the benefit of not just part of our community, not for the benefit of an individual or group, but for the whole of our community, to make it ours.”

Anyone wanting to contact the group for more information is invited to email KHRG2021@outlook.com, or write to 16 Sidney Drive, Kingsley Holt, ST10 2BH.

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