Chapels project gets £4,000 grant boost

Trustees 'Gill Graper, Chris Penney, Jenny Worth and Trish Bryant outside Holbeach Cemetery Chapels which have received a �4,000 restoration grant. 'Photo: SG260713-116TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
Trustees 'Gill Graper, Chris Penney, Jenny Worth and Trish Bryant outside Holbeach Cemetery Chapels which have received a �4,000 restoration grant. 'Photo: SG260713-116TW www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
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A project to restore a 19th century Holbeach landmark is celebrating its first major boost after a £4,000 grant from a UK conservation fund.

Trustees for the Grade II listed cemetery chapels in Park Road are looking to renovate and open them up for community use with help from a team of architects and historic building consultants.

The grant was awarded by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), set up in 1976 to promote the conservation of historic buildings in the UK.

Chris Penney, chairman of Holbeach Cemetery Chapels Ltd, said: “The grant is recognition that the chapels need to be restored and we’re keen to get them done.

“But once they are done, we need to find a use for them because without a viable business plan to provide some revenue, it’s not a viable project.

“We have been given strong indications that other grant funding for the restoration work is and will be available but in order to obtain these, there has to be a credible business plan in place that offers funders the certainty that their funds will not just be used in renovating the chapels, only for them to be shut and left to decay again.”

People will have the chance to see the chapels during an open day on September 15 and talks are taking place with officers from the Transported arts project to find a long-term use for the buildings which date back to the 1850s.

Mr Penney said: “We have identified some possible uses for the chapels, including an education centre for the local schools, a heritage centre and a quiet space for reflection when people visit the cemetery.

“But the problem with all of these that they won’t necessarily generate sufficient income to cover the anticipated running costs.

“Our group would be really pleased to hear from anybody who has any ideas as to what these wonderful chapels could be used for.”

Ian Rice, from the AHF, said: “The fund was set up to help preserve historic buildings at risk of closure and one of the more common types of building we get involved with are cemetery chapels.

“With the size of the buildings in question, there tends to be a difficulty with finding a commercial use for them so when a new preservation trust is established, it’s not uncommon for us to help an organisation like this.”