Listed chapel for sale for first time in its 200 year history
PUBLISHED: 10:53 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 05 June 2019
Its pews have seated generations of worshippers and its pulpit has hosted thousands of sermons, but a Norfolk town's chapel that is celebrating 200 years has gone up for sale for the first time in its history.
The Grade II-listed former United Reformed Church in Harleston is on sale for £200,000 with planning permission to convert it into an open plan four bedroom home.
The imposing red brick building on Mendham Lane was built in 1819 and designed by the acclaimed architect Edward Boardman, who also re-designed Norwich Castle.
The Chapel and Sunday School closed in 2015, due to dwindling numbers of worshippers, unaffordable running costs and being unsuitable for modern day use.
The United Reformed Church had explored alternative solutions to make the two buildings viable, including demolishing the chapel and upgrading the Sunday School building to its rear, which dates to 1906.
Planners advised that this was unlikely to be permitted.
With expensive repairs and lack of funds, the church was forced to sell the buildings in March 2017 and re-locate to new premises in London Road.
South Norfolk Council gave planning permission in April to allow developers to sympathetically restore and refurbish the vacant buildings into two energy efficient, detached dwelling houses.
The chapel is currently being advertised for sale as a "very rarely available once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a landmark Grade II former chapel. The unique building is being sold freehold, giving the new owner a blank canvas to create their own Grand Design."
The chapel boasts 3,278sqft of space, enough for four double bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, an open plan kitchen dining room with soaring ceiling heights, other rooms and a courtyard garden.
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In order to convert the chapel into a home the pews, organ and pulpit have been removed.
In their planning submission the developers stated: "Agreement is being sought that the United Reformed Church would re-locate the pews, organ and pulpit into another building, so that they might continue to be used for their original purpose and be accessible to the public."
Granting permission the council said: "The proposals will result in 'less than substantial' harm to the significance of the buildings as the works would alter the character of the listed building and the conservation area. However, the 'harm' caused has been mitigtated through design and the proposal would result in 'public benefits' in the reuse of a redundant listed building."