St Austell Bible Christian Chapel is situated at the north-west corner of the Trevarthian Road and Tregarne Terrace junction. Facing the earlier chapel of the same name, and also known as Zion Chapel, it was built between1890 and 1891. It was built in granite, with seats for 600. It became Zion United Methodist Church in 1907 and then Zion Methodist Church in 1932 but is now closed. It is now commonly known at Tregarne Chapel.
This is an important heritage asset that has been woefully neglected over many years. Several past unrealistic an inappropriate proposals have plunged the building into further decay. Over that time it has been subject to vandalism. The building is both listed and in a Conservation Area and part of the current HLF Townscape Heritage scheme.
The Cornish Buildings Group have long watched this building and have commented on previous applications. The Cornish Buildings Group led ‘Buildings at Risk Project’ is delighted that a scheme to reuse the building has come forward and is happy to give its support to the scheme. All documents and drawings can be seen on the Cornwall Council Planning Portal under application PA21/05140.
We are pleased that both buildings can be repurposed without their presence in the streetscape being overly compromised. We note that the Conservation Statement and the Design and Access Statement both profess to be offering the safe re-purposing of two buildings of historic and architectural interest, with minimal external alterations. We feel that the physical alterations to the exteriors, although not extensive, are, in parts, quite visually clumsy however this is a reasonable conservation loss against a huge gain to return this visual amenity back to the locality. The use of traditional skills and materials is also applauded. We wonder if railings can be reinstalled around the perimeter of the site.
Although we have some reservations about number of units being provided by this proposal we understand that the project’s viability probably depends on such economics and are pleased that it is a reduction from previous schemes.
We agree with Cornwall Council HEP (Conservation) that addition information on detailing would be welcome.
A sound scheme that at last will return this building to some of its former glory and return an important heritage asset back to the town.
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