Plans to create memorial garden at Grade II*-listed chapel in Yorkshire to entice more visitors
Wainsgate Chapel has applied to Calderdale Council seeking planning permission and listed building consent to create the garden at the Grade II*-listed church at Wainsgate Lane, Old Town, above Hebden Bridge.
It is owned by the Historic Chapels Trust and run by volunteers, recently becoming a registered charity, and regularly hosts events including music concerts.
The first chapel was built there in 1750 though it was subsequently rebuilt in 1815 and again in 1860, when it also included Sunday school and minister’s house, say supporting documents with the application.
The aim is to create the garden at the front and roadside, incorporating a rill – a brook or stream – and pool.
The church says it will be a garden of remembrance for workers – people who lost their lives as a consequence of their work.
It says on its website: “The new garden at Wainsgate will be dedicated to the lives of the mill workers; the factory workers; the farm workers; the labourers; and all the front line workers who lost their lives during the Covid pandemic.
“The garden will be set in the grounds of the chapel, here in the heart of the Calder Valley, a landscape shaped by the hands of generations of skilled working people. It will be a gentle, calming space for everyone to come and remember the people who lost their lives whilst at work.”
The application, number 23/00365/FUL, and listed building consent application, number 23/00366/LBC, can be viewed on the council’s planning portal.
The church says it will also incorporate nature-inspired planting for year round colour, wildlife friendly habitats, new safer paths with better access for wheelchairs, and seats for private reflection and gatherings, as well as reinstatement of an outdoor toilet block.
If planning permission is granted, the church hopes work can start on the garden in spring 2024.
The graveyard is still in use for burials and the interment of ashes, and funeral services and celebrations are held regularly in the chapel, says the document.
The only listed monument in the graveyard is the Fawcett tomb which is Grade II-listed – restoration of steps up to the memorial, improving people’s access to it, also form part of the plans.
The works are designed to be visually unobtrusive, using materials in keeping with its character, no significant elements being removed or altered, say the documents.
The works will improve the viability of Wainsgate for the benefit of the community and as a heritage resource and “will almost certainly lead to an increase in the number of people visiting and using the building,” says the church.
Income generated by visitors and users is essential to pay for the building’s upkeep, it argues.