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Baptists apologise over state of chapel

Baptists are apologising to villagers over the state of an abandoned 19th century chapel after plans to replace it with houses were thrown out a second time.

The chapel in Helmdon has fallen into disrepair since it was closed over a year ago because it needed £100,000 in structural repairs.

But plans to demolish it and build two three-bedroom houses have been rejected again by South Northamptonshire Council. Another revised planning application will now be submitted.

The Rev. Phil Drage of the Tove Valley Baptist Fellowship, which owns the chapel said it was sending a letter to residents.

"We will be apologising for the fact the chapel is in a state of disrepair in such a significant place." he said.

"The chapel has been in the village for 150 years and we don't want to let residents feel it's been left to ruin.

"We would much rather see two affordable houses that the village needs. In the end something will give but we will just have to wait."

Baptists now use the chapel in Weston, two miles away, which is undergoing a £250,000 redevelopment.

Richard Bearman of Helmdon Parish Council said the plan for two houses was too ambitious for the size of the plot.

Earlier plans to build a new chapel were scrapped because of the lack of parking.

The Banbury Guardian - 26th May 2005

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