WORK to restore a tiny chapel in Stratton has been hailed as a vital part of efforts to safeguard the area’s green and historic spaces.

The Green Road Chapel, which is the smallest in Swindon, is to be taken back to its former glory and possibly used as a venue for carols and weddings.

Built in 1865, it has been used as a storage depot but the parish council is giving it a new lease of life with a refurbishment which has been allocated £20,000 and is based on expert advice.

Coun Joe Tray (Labour, Penhill and Upper Stratton) said: “The ideas that are being talked about include holding a Christmas carol service there in the future and local schools have already been involved in designing a stained glass window.

“Anything which celebrates the heritage of Stratton is wonderful as it is an old, established area.

“Green Road is one of the oldest roads in Swindon and one of the few places you will find thatched cottages.

“It’s a brilliant idea to refurbish the chapel and we will continue to fight to save the area’s heritage and green spaces which are under attack.”

Coun Tray is a firefighter by trade but the importance of looking after Stratton’s heritage has not been lost on him even while on duty.

He said: “At Stratton fire station there is a picture of firefighters in Green Road with a cart, ladder and bucket.

“It was taken well before the last century so it shows you how long the road has been a part of Stratton. The restoration is another good example of the parish council working well for the local area and local people.”

The chapel has been used as a storage facility for the last 15 years and forms part of the parish council’s wider investment plans.

Weddings could also take place in the building under the refurbishment.

The chapel, which is 20 metres squared, has four pews and enough space for 24 people.

Paul Russell, Stratton St Margaret Parish Council clerk, has described the restoration as ‘an exciting, small, manageable project’.