Planning permission has been granted for a change of use of the Nonconformist Chapel at London Road Cemetery from a place of worship (D1) to Office Use (B3).
The proposed works at the building include external and internal restoration works, as well as new development to make the building a functional office space. This includes the replacement of windows and roofing, repointing of stone, and the removal of external vegetation.
New development will include the insertion of a mezzanine floor, installation of toilets and kitchen facilities in support of the building’s office use, and the insulation of the roof and floors. These alterations are deemed essential to ensure the use of the building as an office is viable and to give the chapel a new lease of life as a sustainable heritage asset.
An area for parking of five cars (including a disabled space) has been allocated to the south of the building, not immediately adjacent to the chapel, although it is anticipated that most people will walk or catch a bus to the development.
The Nonconformist Chapel is a Grade II* Listed Building dating back to 1847. It lies within the grounds of London Road Cemetery which is Grade I Listed and was designed by Paxton. The cemetery is within the London Road Conservation Area.
The Nonconformist Chapel and the respective London Road Conservation Area are both on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register. The chapel has been vacant for many years. It suffered bomb damage during the Second World War and the lead was stolen from its roof in the 1970s. It was also the subject of an arson attack in 2006 which destroyed the remaining interior of the building.
The plans are part of the wider Heritage Park proposals to be operated by the Historic Coventry Trust. They include The Charterhouse and associated landscape, links to the Sherbourne Railway Viaduct by Stephenson and to the Paxton designed London Road Cemetery.
The Chapel is being restored by the Historic Coventry Trust which has been granted a long lease on the building from the City Council. Funding for the scheme is being provided by the National Lottery and Historic England.
The Chapel was created under the leadership of Paxton, but it is generally understood to have been designed by George Henry Stokes (1828 – 1874) who became Paxton’s Son in Law in 1853. Stokes was an apprentice of Sir George Gilbert Scott.
The Coventry Society welcomes this project to bring this important heritage asset back into use.