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Lothersdale chapel conversion plan approved
10:00am Sunday 15th July 2012 in News
A former Methodist Chapel in Lothersdale is to be converted into a design business with living accommodation.
Earlier attempts to convert the Bethel Chapel into two homes was refused largely because of proposed gardens being too close to the still used graveyard.
But a fresh scheme by a new applicant has been approved by Craven councillors after it was shown progress had been made to satisfy objectors’ concerns.
Chairman of the planning committee Coun Richard Welch added he hoped applicants, Mr and Mrs Simon Ward, would continue to work to overcome any remaining issues.
The Wards, who would buy the chapel from the Methodist Circuit, are planning to convert the building into a ground floor LED lighting and graphic design business, with four bedroom living accommodation on the first and second floors.
Gardens have been removed from the application and opaque glass fitted in windows closest to the graves.
The meeting heard from Audrey Jones, on behalf of those with relatives in the graveyard, that there remained issues about access to the graveyard for disabled people and also for diggers to dig new graves.
There were also concerns about overlooking from the proposed kitchen to the graves.
Mrs Jones said the area needed to be private and asked that a high wall be constructed shielding the graves from the house.
But it was pointed out that the graveyard would still be owned by the church and it would be up to them to make sure access was possible. It was further pointed out that the church had stressed that the building was no longer viable as a chapel and a use needed to be found for it.
Coun Alan Sutcliffe (Cons) said added security would be afforded to the graves by the close proximity of residents in the house and felt sure that the applicants and objectors could come to a satisfactory outcome.
And Coun Ken Hart (Ind) added the new application was a great improvement on the original one submitted by the church.