Cirencester chapel built to remember victims of First World War could be converted into housing

Cirencester chapel built to remember victims of First World War could be converted into housing

Oakley Hall Chapel in Cirencester

Artist impression of the new house

Artist impression of the new house

First published in News
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A DISUSED private chapel in Cirencester that was built to commemorate soldiers from the town who died during the First World War could be turned into an ultra-modern living space.

Plans have been submitted to Cotswold District Council to convert Oakley Hall Chapel in Highfield Lane into a large two bedroom home.

The chapel, which was formerly used by the now defunct Oakley Hall Boys School, was built in 1919 to remember the boys and headmaster from the school who fell during the war.

Inside the chapel is a list of the 46 boys who were killed in the conflict, one of the conditions of planning permission is that a plaque of the names be prominently displayed outside the building.

In keeping with the character of the building, developers have designed a Cotswold stone plaque which features the inscription: “So they passed over and all of the trumpets sounded for them on the other side.”

Under the plans, the chapel will be split into two floors and feature a master bedroom and a second guest bedroom.

The rooms will be divided by glass partitions and the home will also feature a bespoke, hand crafted staircase.

Local historian Peter Grace said he would be “disappointed” to see it turned into housing but if that was the last resort, it was “better than seeing it torn down”.

Another condition which has been placed on the application is that specific bat mitigation measures, such as an exterior bat box, be included in the plans.

A report compiled by Cotswold Wildlife Surveys that “at least three” species of bat have been found to be using the chapel.

The plans were recently discussed at a meeting of Cirencester Town Council’s planning committee on Thursday, March 20.

Cllr Roly Hughes, vice chairman of the committee, supported the application and said that the current plans were better than previous ones to convert it into offices.

Anyone who would like to comment on the plans must do so via www.cotswold.gov.uk by Thursday, April 3.

Comments (8)

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10:57am Thu 27 Mar 14

mean1979 says...

Too slow mr editor! Unfortunately this news is about a year too late. The original plans for conversion were approved to convert and save this building over year ago in early 2013, which included full listed building consent for a respectful conversion. If you take time to look at the plans they show changes to the approved plans rather than something new. The external 7m long 'bat box' or bat loft as it's known, is completed as per the bat mitigation plan. Tree mitigation plan is also in effect as trees are protected by secuirty fencing. The photo shown here, even show the fact its a building site and has been for over 6 months. Either this conversion happens or it falls into disrepair...!
Too slow mr editor! Unfortunately this news is about a year too late. The original plans for conversion were approved to convert and save this building over year ago in early 2013, which included full listed building consent for a respectful conversion. If you take time to look at the plans they show changes to the approved plans rather than something new. The external 7m long 'bat box' or bat loft as it's known, is completed as per the bat mitigation plan. Tree mitigation plan is also in effect as trees are protected by secuirty fencing. The photo shown here, even show the fact its a building site and has been for over 6 months. Either this conversion happens or it falls into disrepair...! mean1979
  • Score: 8

7:00pm Thu 27 Mar 14

RH Morgan says...

I fully agree with the observations by the correspondent 'mean1979' regarding the development of Oakley Chapel, Cirencester. The plans for this development were approved and passed by the local planning authority at the beginning of 2013, fully ONE year ago and was made public knowlege at that time, so the article of 27th March 2014 is somewhat OUT OF DATE!. Although the property could be construed as a war memorial in view of names of the fallen listed within its walls, I think it worth pointing out that the property is deconsecrated and as part of the planning approval, these names will now be listed on an external plaque for all relatives to view whereas they were previously hidden away within the locked building which was in danger of falling into disrepair. I have no doubt that the present owners undertaking this development will display the utmost sensitivity in restoring the building within the planning guidlines, whilst giving it a future that would otherwise have placed it in jeopardy.
I fully agree with the observations by the correspondent 'mean1979' regarding the development of Oakley Chapel, Cirencester. The plans for this development were approved and passed by the local planning authority at the beginning of 2013, fully ONE year ago and was made public knowlege at that time, so the article of 27th March 2014 is somewhat OUT OF DATE!. Although the property could be construed as a war memorial in view of names of the fallen listed within its walls, I think it worth pointing out that the property is deconsecrated and as part of the planning approval, these names will now be listed on an external plaque for all relatives to view whereas they were previously hidden away within the locked building which was in danger of falling into disrepair. I have no doubt that the present owners undertaking this development will display the utmost sensitivity in restoring the building within the planning guidlines, whilst giving it a future that would otherwise have placed it in jeopardy. RH Morgan
  • Score: 5

7:05pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Cotswold_advocate says...

This is a massive investment to an old listed property that had fallen into disrepair. As per the previous comments the work has started over 6 months ago in line with approved planning. This application is for planning and listed building consent and is for minor alterations to the plans that were signed off by the council in feb 2013. The work that has gone in to reducing impact to protected bats and to trees is huge on site, with large sums of money being spent on a new lean-to bat loft, while following the guidance from arboriculturalists and ecologists alike to ensure minimal impact to the world around the development. The site will also allow those to commemorate the fallen externally with addition of a new memorial plaque.Without this kind of work this building would have eventually fallen down and now it will become a home for families for the foreseeable future. Let's hope more listed buildings are respectfully restored in this manner.
This is a massive investment to an old listed property that had fallen into disrepair. As per the previous comments the work has started over 6 months ago in line with approved planning. This application is for planning and listed building consent and is for minor alterations to the plans that were signed off by the council in feb 2013. The work that has gone in to reducing impact to protected bats and to trees is huge on site, with large sums of money being spent on a new lean-to bat loft, while following the guidance from arboriculturalists and ecologists alike to ensure minimal impact to the world around the development. The site will also allow those to commemorate the fallen externally with addition of a new memorial plaque.Without this kind of work this building would have eventually fallen down and now it will become a home for families for the foreseeable future. Let's hope more listed buildings are respectfully restored in this manner. Cotswold_advocate
  • Score: 7

10:58pm Thu 27 Mar 14

ThisIsMyRealName says...

Lazy journalism. A year old story re-hashed. Let's look at the facts:
-The planning for the conversion was approved last year
-the present application is an amendment to that plan
-the building has been saved
- the memorial plaques within the building are untouched
-the new memorial is accessible to everyone
- the bats have a new home

Everyone's a winner. Except possibly the journalist who didn't check their facts.
Lazy journalism. A year old story re-hashed. Let's look at the facts: -The planning for the conversion was approved last year -the present application is an amendment to that plan -the building has been saved - the memorial plaques within the building are untouched -the new memorial is accessible to everyone - the bats have a new home Everyone's a winner. Except possibly the journalist who didn't check their facts. ThisIsMyRealName
  • Score: 9

3:29pm Fri 28 Mar 14

RH Morgan says...

PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please!
PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please! RH Morgan
  • Score: 6

2:33pm Sun 30 Mar 14

Peter Grace says...

RH Morgan wrote:
PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please!
Peter Grace
In the interests of family unity can I point out that I was misquoted in the original article. Neither of my two brothers attended Oakley Hall School. I mentioned to the reporter that I had little knowledge of the building but my brother had taken photographs of work in progress when on official duties for the CDC. We were all educated at the Council School inn Lewis Lane followed by Cirencester Grammar School. The nearest we ever got to private education was to view the Oakley Hall playing fields from the bedroom windows of our home at number 81 Chesterton Lane and attending our Street Party for the Coronation in 1953 in the school's gymnasium which was kindly offered as an alternate to sitting in a field in the pouring rain.
[quote][p][bold]RH Morgan[/bold] wrote: PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please![/p][/quote]Peter Grace In the interests of family unity can I point out that I was misquoted in the original article. Neither of my two brothers attended Oakley Hall School. I mentioned to the reporter that I had little knowledge of the building but my brother had taken photographs of work in progress when on official duties for the CDC. We were all educated at the Council School inn Lewis Lane followed by Cirencester Grammar School. The nearest we ever got to private education was to view the Oakley Hall playing fields from the bedroom windows of our home at number 81 Chesterton Lane and attending our Street Party for the Coronation in 1953 in the school's gymnasium which was kindly offered as an alternate to sitting in a field in the pouring rain. Peter Grace
  • Score: 4

9:48pm Sun 30 Mar 14

Cali123 says...

With regard to the proposed works at Oakley Hall Chapel, Cirencester, it is understandable that local residents may have certain concerns. However, there has been a design and inscription prepared in keeping with the building to remember the 46 boys who sadly lost their lives during the First World War. There are also arrangements in hand to protect the 3 species of bats already in residence. Therefore would it not be a relief to know that these future human residents are treating the building and its past sensitively and with great respect. Better this than it crumbles away and the memories of this building are lost forever.
With regard to the proposed works at Oakley Hall Chapel, Cirencester, it is understandable that local residents may have certain concerns. However, there has been a design and inscription prepared in keeping with the building to remember the 46 boys who sadly lost their lives during the First World War. There are also arrangements in hand to protect the 3 species of bats already in residence. Therefore would it not be a relief to know that these future human residents are treating the building and its past sensitively and with great respect. Better this than it crumbles away and the memories of this building are lost forever. Cali123
  • Score: 4

1:17pm Mon 31 Mar 14

Simon Davies says...

Peter Grace wrote:
RH Morgan wrote:
PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please!
Peter Grace
In the interests of family unity can I point out that I was misquoted in the original article. Neither of my two brothers attended Oakley Hall School. I mentioned to the reporter that I had little knowledge of the building but my brother had taken photographs of work in progress when on official duties for the CDC. We were all educated at the Council School inn Lewis Lane followed by Cirencester Grammar School. The nearest we ever got to private education was to view the Oakley Hall playing fields from the bedroom windows of our home at number 81 Chesterton Lane and attending our Street Party for the Coronation in 1953 in the school's gymnasium which was kindly offered as an alternate to sitting in a field in the pouring rain.
Re; Peter Grace comment above.
The article has now been corrected and apologies for the mistake Peter. No idea how the error was made.
Simon Davies, news ed.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Grace[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RH Morgan[/bold] wrote: PS. I can understand Mr P Grace's feelings regarding his brother's attendance at the Oakley Chapel, but rather than seeing such a beautiful building being demolished, I am certain the new owners have every intention of retaining various features so as to allow this historic building to be saved for prosperity. I am sure this is the correct and sensible way to go. One must assume that the said owners have fallen in love with the building, and therefore intend to show this in a sensitive refurbishment. I wish them well. So many special periodic chapels are left to rot. Not this one, please![/p][/quote]Peter Grace In the interests of family unity can I point out that I was misquoted in the original article. Neither of my two brothers attended Oakley Hall School. I mentioned to the reporter that I had little knowledge of the building but my brother had taken photographs of work in progress when on official duties for the CDC. We were all educated at the Council School inn Lewis Lane followed by Cirencester Grammar School. The nearest we ever got to private education was to view the Oakley Hall playing fields from the bedroom windows of our home at number 81 Chesterton Lane and attending our Street Party for the Coronation in 1953 in the school's gymnasium which was kindly offered as an alternate to sitting in a field in the pouring rain.[/p][/quote]Re; Peter Grace comment above. The article has now been corrected and apologies for the mistake Peter. No idea how the error was made. Simon Davies, news ed. Simon Davies
  • Score: 0

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