Anger as historic Chesterfield chapel put up for sale

Chesterfield Spital Cemetery chapel.
Chesterfield Spital Cemetery chapel.

Campaigners have vowed to save a much-loved Chesterfield chapel which could be sold off as housing.

The grade II listed Spital Cemetery chapel - which will be 160 years old in August - has been put on the market by Chesterfield Borough Council.

Chesterfield Spital Cemetery chapel.

Chesterfield Spital Cemetery chapel.

It is currently for sale on the Rightmove website for £75,000 - but for the campaigners, its value is so much more than monetary.

Liz Cook, secretary of the Friends of Spital Cemetery group, said: “The council are hoping that a buyer comes along and turns it into their dream home - but is that what the community wants?

“But we think the buildings not only have great heritage value but could still be used by the community today as well.

“And we are seriously interested in suggesting an alternative.”

Liz, who is 69 and lives nearby on Alexandra Road East, has been in contact with funding organisations to enquire about the possibility they could renovate it themselves.

Despite the fact the chapel has been ‘sorely neglected’ for years, she believes it could be rescued with an investment of around £300,000.

On its website, Chesterfield Borough Council describes the sale as a ‘unique opportunity to acquire this detached former chapel’.

The 1,700 square foot property is being offered by way of a 999-year lease on behalf of the council by Redbrik Estate Agents.

It also says the property - which could be made into two dwellings or office space - is available with no onward chain.

As well as the buildings, the cemetery itself is full of the rich history of Chesterfield and Derbyshire.

Civil engineer, Frederick Swanwick, who assisted George and Robert Stephenson and was responsible for much of the work on railways in the Midlands in the 19th century, is buried there.

And the original owners of the Derbyshire Times - Wilfred and WH Edmunds - are also buried just outside the chapel’s porch.

Councillor Ken Huckle, the council’s cabinet member for business transformation, said: “In putting the chapel on the market, we have followed their advice that this would be the best option to ensure the chapel building is retained.

“While we have worked closely with the Friends of Spital Cemetery to discuss the alternatives, the group indicated that they would not have the funds to buy the building or be able to maintain it.

“The chapel and Spital Lodge are being offered on a long leasehold basis, so the council can work with the user, and ensure its activities do not detract from the working listed cemetery and the sensitive surroundings.”

n Anyone interested in finding out more about the campaign, can email Liz Cook on lizcook80@icloud.com.