Decision awaited on future of Rasen’s old Methodist church

Union Street Chapel EMN-160331-162158001
Union Street Chapel EMN-160331-162158001

It is hoped a decision will be made very soon on the future of the former Methodist Hall on Union Street in Market Rasen.

Agents Rob Bradley Building Design, for developers Rasen Property Services, say they are expecting an outcome ‘any day now’ from West Lindsay District Council on plans submitted back in June 2014.

The Methodist Hall, built in 1861, has not been used for worship for 50 years and lies in the Market Rasen Conservation Area.

Rasen Property Services submitted plans back in 2014 to demolish the Methodist Hall and build six Victorian-style houses to fit in with neighbouring homes.

The plans are still currently at the public consultation stage.

A structural engineer’s report said that the old Methodist Hall, which has been used as a tyre andexhaust repair servicing business, was “in a run down condition with no apparent occupation for some years.”

Broken windows have allowed wild pigeons to nest and breed and the detritus from the birds was reported to “present a health hazard to anyone entering the building.”

Plaster was noted to have fallen from ceilings exposing timber lathes, a timber first floor had rotten joists and boards, and the external walls are poor with crumbling caused by frost damage and water erosion. Windows and doors are also rotten, the report said.

The report continued that repair and renovation costs would be three to four times that of a rebuild and the existing building would need “some degree of architectural ingenuity” to convert to housing.

“It suggested a new build development would lead to dwellings which were “more fit for purpose and efficient than a refurbished alteration of the exisitng structure.”

The future of the unused chapel has long been a talking point in Market Rasen with readers back in 2003 debating on its future.

Some voted that it should be demolished, while others put forward the idea of it being turned into a town museum or theatre.

People also suggested: “Take the roof off and replace it with a glass roof to form an atrium effect - so you have a light, airy interior.

“Inside could be units for offices. Several small businesses could work in there.

“The downstairs could be a lounge area with a cafe and guest artistes playing music. The sort of thing which does not attract large audiences.

“You could have theatre in the round without a stage.”

Another reader said: “We shouldn’t lose another historic building. Look at what happened when the town hall was knocked down.

“A museum would be an asset to the town. There will be no shortage of items to trace the history of the town and the areas around. Schools and playgroups could visit.

“A community room for hiring would surely clash with the Festival Hall and Church Rooms.”

Another commented: “Turn the chapel into a Heritage Centre focusing on Rasen but incorporating the surrounding areas.”