Large 19th century chapel could be turned into a craft market
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A large Methodist chapel in Morriston, Swansea could be revived as a craft market, cafe and living space.
Plans to convert the vacant Bethania Chapel, which was built in 1878, are being assessed by Swansea Council planning officers.
Applicant TQS Development Ltd wants to create enough space for 11 market stalls and nine one, two and three-bedroom properties.
It also plans to build a new block at the rear featuring a ground-floor cafe and first-floor community hall.
The Woodfield Street chapel lies within Morriston District Centre, and TQS Development said the proposal would generate footfall.
A design and access statement in support of the application said: “It is observed that there are several vacant units and buildings fronting Woodfield Street across the district centre area and it is considered that the re-use and investment in the subject property will have a positive impact on the vitality of the centre.”
It said alterations to the building, which isn’t listed, aimed to retain original features, and the exterior stonework would be cleaned by a specialist.
The plan is to remove the chapel’s front door and fix it inside as a feature, with a new glass door serving as the entrance. The statement added that there wouldn’t be an adverse impact on neighbouring buildings.
Bethania Methodist Chapel was built in 1878 to the design of architects John Richards and William Williams of Swansea, according to the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
The chapel was then rebuilt in 1888, in the Romanesque style with a gable-entry plan and a large arch in the facade. The church practises a Welsh type of Calvinistic Methodism.
Morriston has its fair share of grand buildings which have seen better days.
Planning officers have supported a pre-application enquiry to convert Danbert House, Morfydd Street, into 11 flats and a house at the rear, but a full planning application would need to be approved before any work got under way.
Danbert House was grade two listed by Welsh heritage body Cadw in 1993 as a “well-preserved example of a Victorian town house, rare in Morriston”.
The building was last used many years ago as offices but has become increasing derelict ever since. Fire has also damaged it.
Two years ago a separate application to convert St John’s Church, which is also grade-two listed, into a cafe, gallery and flats was approved. The church is on a roundabout in the middle of Woodfield Street.
Morriston was designed on a gridiron street plan and is considered the oldest planned town in Wales, according to a council review of Morriston Conservation Area.
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Morriston is a suburb of Swansea, and has never been grantes9 town status.