Campaigners work on plan to transform disused North Cemetery chapel into a community cafe

Councillor Anne-Marie Curry, far left, with supporters of the campaign to save the North Cemetery chapel

Councillor Anne-Marie Curry, far left, with supporters of the campaign to save the North Cemetery chapel

First published in News
Last updated
by , Reporter (Darlington)

AN action group hoping to turn a neglected chapel into a community cafe is drafting a business plan to secure its future.

The group, Friends of the Chapel in North Cemetery, is trying to save the North Cemetery chapel building after its owners Darlington Borough Council declared it “surplus” and considered selling it.

The group hopes to renovate the building and open it as a community cafe, possibly offering courses such as family history research, art and flower arranging.

Volunteers and Friends members recently carried out a clean-up operation where they removed 15 bag-fulls of rubbish and gutter debris from the site.

Part of the dilapidated roof was also fixed by the council and the secretary of the Friends, Coun Anne-Marie Curry, is pleased with the progress made since the campaign started in September.

She said: “It is going in the right direction.

“Once we have got our business plan together we will then get the chapel registered as a community asset so another group could come in and save it if it all goes pear-shaped – not that we expect it to go pear-shaped because we have plenty of enthusiasm and support on this.”

Coun Curry hopes that if the Friends can come up with a viable business plan, the council would agree to let the building out in a similar way that some council-owned allotments have been leased to community associations instead of being sold off.

A council spokeswoman confirmed that the authority is no longer looking to sell the building and is working with the Friends group.

Comments (2)

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5:22pm Fri 10 Jan 14

cushybutterfield says...

What a great idea, a Community group with vision and determination. I have witnessed over the years some lovely old buildings in the north east neglected and left to rot by certain Councils and when ANY security oversight of any description has been ***non-existent. This excellent scheme could have some internet access and/or small library or research reading room. Important remember to install the ***Best SECURITY you can afford because criminal workshy vandals at the first chance, will in all probability destroy all your good valuable work. All the best on this great Community Project.
What a great idea, a Community group with vision and determination. I have witnessed over the years some lovely old buildings in the north east neglected and left to rot by certain Councils and when ANY security oversight of any description has been ***non-existent. This excellent scheme could have some internet access and/or small library or research reading room. Important remember to install the ***Best SECURITY you can afford because criminal workshy vandals at the first chance, will in all probability destroy all your good valuable work. All the best on this great Community Project. cushybutterfield
  • Score: 2

7:41pm Sat 11 Jan 14

Awake-in-Darlo says...

cushybutterfield wrote:
What a great idea, a Community group with vision and determination. I have witnessed over the years some lovely old buildings in the north east neglected and left to rot by certain Councils and when ANY security oversight of any description has been ***non-existent. This excellent scheme could have some internet access and/or small library or research reading room. Important remember to install the ***Best SECURITY you can afford because criminal workshy vandals at the first chance, will in all probability destroy all your good valuable work. All the best on this great Community Project.
Who are this group of people ? Is cushybutterfield a member of the group ?
We live North of Darlington and have no idea about this project. As far as we know there IS no "scheme" or work being done on the building, at least none was noticed at a very recent visit to a family grave.
A local councillor is "pleased with the progress so far" ,does not have a plan and is prepared for things to "go pearshaped". Feeble. Must do better and have community meetings or be doomed to failure.
There is not much "security" by the way , DBC ceased closing of the cemetery gates some time ago as they cannot justify the "cost of staff".
[quote][p][bold]cushybutterfield[/bold] wrote: What a great idea, a Community group with vision and determination. I have witnessed over the years some lovely old buildings in the north east neglected and left to rot by certain Councils and when ANY security oversight of any description has been ***non-existent. This excellent scheme could have some internet access and/or small library or research reading room. Important remember to install the ***Best SECURITY you can afford because criminal workshy vandals at the first chance, will in all probability destroy all your good valuable work. All the best on this great Community Project.[/p][/quote]Who are this group of people ? Is cushybutterfield a member of the group ? We live North of Darlington and have no idea about this project. As far as we know there IS no "scheme" or work being done on the building, at least none was noticed at a very recent visit to a family grave. A local councillor is "pleased with the progress so far" ,does not have a plan and is prepared for things to "go pearshaped". Feeble. Must do better and have community meetings or be doomed to failure. There is not much "security" by the way , DBC ceased closing of the cemetery gates some time ago as they cannot justify the "cost of staff". Awake-in-Darlo
  • Score: 0

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