Finally on 11th November 2013 the purchase was completed. Now before we could move into the caravan we needed to connect it to gas canisters, electric, water, and the sewer, so while I worked on making the site habitable, we stayed in a local hotel for a few days moving in to the caravan on the 15th.
Getting on and off the site was very slippery especially after the wet weather during the siting of the caravan, so on the 20th we got the overgrown drive scraped off and gravel laid. It was still steep but no wheel spins now.
We bought the Chapel with planning permission but the scheme that had been granted was a sprawl of single storey flat roof extensions around the chapel, and “work/live” to boot. The previous owner had submitted several planning applications for something more worthwhile but without success. Now it was our turn to try to get something sensible approved.
With the expertise of Peter Jones Architectural Consultant and John Phillips Planning Consultant, we start pulling together plans for a 2 storey extension to the rear of the Chapel. It seems obvious that the the breeze block garage built onto the front of the chapel should be demolished to restore the original appearance of the chapel and for the extension to built to the rear where it will be almost entirely out of sight.
However it seems the planning department is determined that it won’t grant anything other than the current permission which is particularly difficult to understand while sitting next to the modern home that had been built and further extended next door in place of a modest bungalow.
After many revisions to develop a sensitive but worthwhile design, we finally submitted our planning application on 14th May 2014. The planners report was to refuse the application but our ward councillor who supported the scheme called it to Committee. It went to Committee on 13th August 2014 and in almost unanimous vote the plans were approved, overturning the the planning departments decision- phew! Building Control approval came next!
We couldn’t start work on the Chapel until all the approvals were in place but there was plenty of clearing up to do, a few bonfires and an appreciation of how this site, that had been left to nature for many years, ws home to a home to a lot of wildlife something we are keen to preserve In the end it was just over a year before we we able to start work on the actual building and as it was winter again we started inside digging out for the floor and checking the foundations.