Chapel designed by Portmeirion architect Clough Williams-Ellis to be converted into a home
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
A chapel designed by the man behind the Italianate village of Portmeirion will be converted into a house after planning permission was awarded.
Capel Moriah, in Llanystumdwy near Criccieth, was designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in 1936 after the previous chapel was damaged by fire.
But having been closed for several years, the former Methodist chapel which stands opposite the Lloyd George Museum now looks set to become a home.
With full planning and listed building consent applications having been approved, the work will involve both internal and some external alterations.
The plans, submitted by London-based Mr Thomas Chippendale, attracted no opposition from the local community council and were backed by planning officers without the need to go in front of councillors.
According to the Gwynedd Council planning officers’ report, its appearance will remain largely unchanged including retaining y Sedd Fawr (or Deacons’ Great Seat).
“The building stands on its own within the village and has long been vacant,” they wrote.
“It is intended to keep the main chapel open, by reusing some of the seating as a natural wall as well as retaining the original organ and using the space as a dining and relaxation room.
“The flat roof area would be to the rear with the kitchen, bath and two bedrooms, and it is proposed to install solar panels on this roof which will be out of sight.
“Externally there will be few changes, just replacing the windows with some double units of the same type as existing, installing three cast iron vents on the rear to ventilate the rooms and re-use the main doors on the sides like shutters.
“Considerable landscaping around the garden is also proposed.”
The building was awarded Grade II listed status in 1991, described as, “An important example of the work of the notable C20 Welsh architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, a distinctive essay in classicism, elegantly composed and detailed.”
According to the applicants’ supporting documents, meanwhile, all efforts will be made to protect the building for future generations.
“It is a principle heritage asset and works will be undertaken carefully to ensure the building’s longevity,” they noted.
“It must be noted also that undertaking the works will not affect any of the building’s characteristics, form or facades.
“No engineering reports are required for the application as no structural elements will be removed, altered or replaced. The works are fully reversible for the building’s protection and less intrusive than other options that were considered.
“On this basis, in preserving the building and enhancing the character of the chapel, we are fully compliant.”
They concluded, “The works proposed to the building that has not been taken lightly, and the choice is not made for cost efficiency, but for the retention of all historical features.”