How former chapel could become new family home

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk - Credit: Archant

An empty chapel could be given a new lease of life if a bid to convert the building into a family home, complete with its own graveyard, is successful.

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk - Credit: Archant

The former congregational chapel on Yarmouth Road in Hemsby was sold last year and the new owner has submitted plans to Great Yarmouth Borough Council to restore the building as a residential home.

A graveyard containing around 100 tombstones was included in the sale, as well as a memorial garden dedicated to the late Princess Diana.

When the site was put up for auction there were concerns the graveyard would be closed – but new owner Corinne Bryant, 55, has said they would have a responsibility to keep the graveyard tidy and make it available for relatives of people buried there as well as people interested in family history who want to visit.

“We’re not going to stop people coming to the graveyard,” she said.

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

The former Evalengical Congregational church, Hemsby, which is for sale. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk - Credit: Archant

“It’s just a nice old building that was falling into disrepair. When we saw it we fell in love with it.”

“A garden with a graveyard is not a problem at all,” she added, joking: “I find you get more problems from the living than the dead.”

The application states the new owners would like to convert the building into their main place of residence, by adding an internal mezzanine floor.

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The only external changes would be the addition of a small corner single storey extension to the rear corner.

Consultation responses to the proposal online have been mostly positive, with villagers happy to see the building restored.

Katie Leech commented: “Once restored and converted it could be a lovely asset to the village and a pleasure to see.”

Gwen Myall said: “Conversion will save it from falling into disrepair. These beautiful buildings should not be allowed to decay. It will have a new lease if life if converted to a home.

“It is uncared for, untidy and an eyesore. It is nice to see it will now be turned into a family home which will be an asset for the village.”

One objection to the plan – from Frank Little, former minister of the church – said there is a “paucity of community facilities in the village” and conversion to private use would be “detrimental”.