HC Deb 07 March 1988 vol 129 cc77-8W
Mr. Beith

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications he has recently received for demolition or alteration of non-conformist chapels or former chapels which are listed buildings; and whether Brunswick Methodist chapel, Macclesfield, and Preston Unitarian chapel have been the subject of any such application.

Mr. Moynihan

Applications for listed building consent are made initially to local planning authorities, but must in certain circumstances be referred to the Department if the authority proposes to grant consent so that the case can be considered for call-in for decision by my right hon. Friend. All applications by local planning authorities themselves are automatically referred to the Department for decision.

Since 1 August 1987, 17 applications for listed building consent for the demolition (total or partial), alteration or extension of listed non-conformist chapels or former chapels have been referred to the Department. In 10 of these cases we decided not to intervene; this category included an application to convert the Brunswick Methodist chapel, Macclesfield, to office and residential purposes. In a further five cases we are still considering call-in; and two local planning authority applications are currently before us for decision.

In addition to the above applications, my right hon. Friend refuesed consent in January 1988, following a public inquiry, for the total demolition of he Old Methodist chapel, Swineshead, near Boston, Lincolnshire. This application was made in April 1987. The Preston Unitarian chapel was the subject of a local planning authority application for total demolition in February 1986. The authority was asked to investigate the possibility of selling the chapel on the open market as the Department was not satisfied that sufficient thought had been given to this possibility. Efforts to sell the building have not been successful to date.

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