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