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Council rejects application to demolish 19th Century chapel

08 Aug 2022 2 minute read
Rhydcymerau Chapel, Carmarthenshire, Photo Richard Youle

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

The owner of a rural chapel in Carmarthenshire which dates from the early 19th Century has been told he can’t demolish it.

Villagers in Rhydcymerau, south-east of Llanybydder, who objected to the application by Nigel Smith, said they would like the chapel to be a meeting place and community shop.

They were also worried about the adjacent graveyard, where author and nationalist David John Williams, who wrote Hen Dy Ffarm (The old farmhouse), is buried.

“These were our people, and we should respect their final resting place,” said Rachel Philip, of Rhydcymerau, in an email to Carmarthenshire Council.

Mr Smith’s demolition application for the unoccupied chapel was turned down by the council’s planning department.

It said insufficient information had been provided in regard to the presence of a bat roost and the building’s proximity to nearby properties. It also said no information had been supplied as to the proposed restoration of the site.

The original chapel was built in 1813, with the current building dating from 1874.

Patricia Barker, of Rhydcymerau, said in an email to the planning department that the village had already lost a pub, school, shop and post office.

Meeting place

She said: “This has left the village with nothing for the community of Rhydcymerau years ago the chapel vestry was used as a place to hold certain events and was a good meeting place for locals to meet up.”

This was echoed by another resident, Mikala Sargent, who said: “The village has lost so many of its facilities already its such a tragedy if the chapel goes the same way.”

Mr Smith’s previous residential change of use application was rejected in March on four grounds, including highway safety. Planning officers said there was also a lack of detail about mitigation measures regarding the presence of pipistrelle bats in the chapel’s slate wall cladding.

A building survey on behalf of Mr Smith said the chapel building had been poorly maintained but that it was structurally satisfactory and could be repaired.

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1 year ago

About time local councils stood up to the rampant destruction of Wales’ non-conformist heritage. I get it hardly anyone goes to church or chapel these days, but in these stones reside the collective memory and spiritual heritage of generations of Cymry Cymraeg which to a large extent engendered much of what is good about the Welsh way of life today. The built heritage of non-conformist Wales stands as witness to a way of life and a way of thinking that contributed in no small way to defining Welshness and served as a means of preserving the language as a living… Read more »

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

That is all well and good but looking at the current state this chapel is in and its sale history £20,000 in 2019 who would either want it or be prepared to preserve it. As sad as it is times have changed and Wales no longer is a non conformist nation. The days of people coming together have long since gone not just in Wales. We need to be a forward looking nation and not harking back to days gone by which were not as wonderful as some on here seem to think.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

The ‘Community Buildings’ of Wales Yearbook is getting thinner at an alarming rate. Pubs, Village Halls, Infant Schools, Old Colleges, Libraries, Cinemas, Dance/Music venues, Theatres, Retail gems, Capeli and the odd Church…This cries out for a holistic approach to the ‘What is Wales’ question asked by the likes of zip World etc and including the ideas of language and place names and field names. Do we care what Wales will look like in another Baker’s Dozen years, are we teaching the language and hopefully the history too, for a good and viable reason as part of true home nation, encourage… Read more »

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 year ago

Sadly the loss of facilities in a village is due to the lack of ability to make money. It would have been nice for some of the Westminser Millions to have been used to support such communities

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