Plans to demolish a disused chapel in Ponciau, Wrexham to make way for housing have been approved, though ‘councillors lamented the disappearance of another place of worship from an area…’, as the Leader reports.
The Leader writes:
While Wrexham councillors accepted they had no planning grounds to refuse the application to knock down Salem Chapel in Bank Street and build in its place two detached homes, they lamented the disappearance of another place of worship from an area steeped in the history of the Welsh nonconformist revival of the early part of the 20th century. Wrexham Council had asked Cadw to explore whether the chapel was worthy of being listed, but David Williams, head of planning control, told the planning committee the Welsh Government’s historic environment service took the view there were ‘better examples in the vicinity’.
‘It is always sad to see a local building demolished like this, but it isn’t listed and it is not in a conservation area, while it has not been used as a religious building for a number of years,’ said the planner.
But the plans were not without opposition with Rhos Community Council objecting to the height of the housing and the Victorian Society stating the chapel ‘constitutes a small but important fragment of the area’s distinctive group of Ruabon brick chapels’.
Three councillors abstained in the vote, including Cllr Paul Pemberton (Ponciau), who admitted: ‘I couldn’t live with myself if I did, although I can’t see any planning reasons for refusing this application. The roof of the chapel is looking a bit tired and I can’t see it surviving the winter. The Rhos area used to be the capital for chapels and pubs, but now the chapels are down to single figures. This is a prime example of a building made from Ruabon red brick.’
Cllr Graham Rogers (Hermitage) suggested the red brick could be reclaimed on demolition and used in the construction of the two new dwellings.