Neighbours to explore options over chapel

Alan Richardson, Fiona Ryland and Trevor Driver, members of Friends of Lumbutts Chapel
Alan Richardson, Fiona Ryland and Trevor Driver, members of Friends of Lumbutts Chapel
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A group has been formed by residents exploring the possibility of taking a historic chapel into community ownership - and they want to hear what the wider public would like to see.

More than 80 people attended a public meeting held at Lumbutts Methodist Chapel to discuss the future of the chapel, its graveyard and an adjoining field, with many possibilities articulated, problems outlined and the preferences for action investigated.

It was decided to form a steering committee to consider the points raised and to investigate the initial stages required to implement the proposed plans.

Fifteen people, with a wide range of expertise, met before Christmas and agreed on the title of Friends of Lumbutts Chapel, said Mr Trevor Driver, of the group.

“Different people were selected to examine one of a variety of steps that needed to be taken to establish whether we could be considered a legitimate group interested in submitting a course of action to take over the responsibilities of the graveyard and turn the chapel into a community and heritage centre,” he said.

“The main issues were to clarify the intention of the Methodist authorities, to use the recent Localism Act to claim that the chapel, graveyard and field had the potential to be a community asset, to establish the position of Calderdale Council regarding any graveyard obligations and their interest in having a municipal graveyard, to investigate any possible financial help in grant form and to suggest a list of suitable activities to be held in the chapel to enable it to continue as a self funding project into the future.”

It was agreed to apply for an opportunity to consider a bid for the property and hope to be granted some time to work towards that goal.

“The biggest problem was how to answer the question ‘what plans have you for the use of the chapel?’ and although ideas had been put forward the meeting felt that we needed the help and guidance from the good people of the upper valley. So we appeal to anyone who can suggest for what purpose and activity the chapel could be used and to any groups who would be interested in setting up a base there.

“We also need input from the community as to their wishes regarding the future of the graveyard - whether it should remain open as it is, extended into the field, partially closed or fully closed,” said Mr Driver. “If you have any interest in any aspect of Lumbutts Chapel or its graveyard please attend the meeting or let us know through any of the ways suggested. Don’t leave it until its too late.”

The group’s next public meeting will be on Monday, February 10, at Lumbutts Chapel (7.30pm) when everyone will have their chance to put their views forward. In the interim, you can post ideas to Friends of Lumbutts Chapel, 2 Jack Lee Gate, Lumbutts, Todmorden, OL14 6JF, or ring them in to 01706 813365. Anyone wanting to find out more about the details and workings of the committee can find its minutes on