Church scales back Fulwood chapel plans to save cash

Church officials are scaling down a controversial new chapel/parish hall in Fulwood after admitting they can't afford to build it as planned.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 12:30 pm

A replacement for St Martin's Chapel in Broadway, which was closed in 2019 and demolished this year despite objections from locals, will now be smaller in a bid to save £135,000 on building costs.

Preston Council's planning committee looks set to agree to the alterations at a meeting on Thursday. They will also be asked to approve changes to plans for 14 homes on adjacent land which were approved in November last year.

"These changes are necessary to reduce the overall costs of the development and will save over £135,000 in construction costs," says a report to be presented to the committee.

St Martin's Chapel has now been demolished awaiting its replacement.

"Without the changes the applicant states that the scheme would be unviable and incapable of being delivered."

St Mary's Chapel, which is overseen by St John the Baptist Church in Broughton, closed its doors in September 2019 after parish officials said it was "neither fit for purpose or financially viable."

In addition to being a church, the hall also hosted activities like martial arts, Zumba, ballet, a Mothers' Union and was used as an election polling station.

Angry residents objected to the plans saying they should have been given the opportunity to raise funds to improve it, together with its guide hut and bowling green.

The site will also have 14 affordable homes.

But the church pressed ahead after being given council approval to build a replacement and bulldoze the guide hut and green to make way for 14 new homes - five of them affordable and nine apartments for the over-55s.

The new plans being discussed on Thursday show a chapel which is slightly smaller in footprint and 1.7 metres lower in height. All 14 homes are now to be affordable.

The parish says that while the new building will be slightly smaller than the one initially planned, it will still be large enough to accommodate the same number of people and provide the same range of worship and social/community facilities that the old one did.