A PLAN to convert a remote and disused Baptist chapel dating back more than 170 years to a home has been given the green light.
Some tombstones at the former Kingcoed Chapel will be moved to a different part of the grounds, though the graveyard will be maintained as a garden of remembrance open to the public and maintained by the homeowner.
Built in 1845 it remained in use a place of worship for the next 172 years until 2017 when, due to a dwindling congregation, the Baptist Union took the decision the rural chapel, sited in the broad triangle formed by Usk, Monmouth and Raglan, should close.
Kingcoed is a scattered rural hamlet along the elevated ridge between Treworgan and Llangovan, and the only way to drive to the chapel is from Treworgan or Raglan via narrow roads, generally only used for access to the village.
Applicant Oonagh Bastille, of Abergavenny, had applied for change of use planning permission in April 2022, with the plans only approved by Monmouthshire County Council’s delegation panel this month.
An internal first floor will also be added, with two windows at first floor level and roof lights, as a result, as well as a small single storey extension.
Before the closure the Baptist community had also consulted with local residents to invite proposals from any interested parties and it was sold, at auction, four years later.
Planning officer Kate Bingham said the change of use could be approved as there will be no loss to the community and wrote: “Given the time that passed between the public notice of the closure of the chapel and the eventual sale, it is accepted that genuine attempts to market the facility have been made.
“This also demonstrates that there is no local demand for the facility. The religious needs of the Baptist community are still met within reasonable travelling distance by the Baptist Chapel in Raglan, located about three miles away.”
In her application Mrs Bastille said she had circulated her plans for the chapel in a local What’s App group and said while she was then aware some neighbours were likely to object she said the response had been “generally positive the building would be maintained and not fall into disrepair”.
She said she had also had “positive meetings with relatives of people buried in the churchyard” and said: “they are happy with my proposals to move headstones to north and west boundaries and develop a garden of remembrance.”
Plans have also been agreed to move an existing wall to create a parking space while there also conditions protecting trees on site and lighting will have to be agreed to protect bats using the area.
Some residents of Kingcoed had raised drainage and surface water issues as objections but Ms Bingham said in a report there is no evidence foul drainage will have an adverse impact and that surface water issues could be dealt with by a planning condition and that sustainable drainage approval will be required.