People are invited to join a discussion about the future of Stroud’s historic chapel of rest.
Stroud Town Council is organising a meeting on January 25 as the next stage of a review into the building’s future.
The Victorian chapel in the town’s cemetery in Old Bisley Road is currently used by Stroud Town Council’s Green Spaces team.
Stroud District Council is considering the chapel’s future whilst reviewing its assets, and has given the Town Council an opportunity to buy it.
Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said the Town Council has first refusal on the listed building which is home to bats but that, whilst many would like it to remain in public ownership, he was mindful that public finances had to be used responsibly.
The Town Council organised a public survey to find out what the community thought should happen to the building.
Public suggestions for the building include: a cafe, holiday accommodation, art rooms, educational spaces, a small cinema, a micro-brewery, a meditation space, a photographer’s dark room and even a drive-through restaurant.
The Town Council is considering buying the building for community use but Councillor Cranston said the ideas discussed at the public meeting on January 25 will need to be viable and generate income to pay for the building’s upkeep.
“We appreciate residents’ sharing their views on important projects with us,” he said. “We are looking for uses that are both realistic and financially viable and we hope people will come along to the consultation meeting when we talk the most viable suggestions through.”
The Town Council have received a £5,000 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund, which will help pay for an architect and specialist advice on the feasibility of any ideas that come forward.
The chapel and cemetery in Old Bisley Road were created in the 1850s. Stroud Burial Board purchased a six-acre site at the edge of town and commissioned two Chapels of Rest and an entrance lodge to be built in Cotswold stone.
The cemetery was divided into three sections: one for Conformists, one for Non-Conformists and the third for parish paupers. The old cemetery is now a nature reserve, one of a few in the country based in a cemetery.
Further suggestions can be submitted before Friday January 20 via a brief survey at http://bit.ly/2ha91b0.
The meeting to discuss the next step is at the Subscription Rooms, George Street, on Wednesday January 25 from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.