Time to fix the chapel

Peter Green, a local resident worried about the effect of work near the Baptist Chapel near Regent Circus

Peter Green, a local resident worried about the effect of work near the Baptist Chapel near Regent Circus

First published in Adver Comment

THE structural damage to the Rehoboth Strict Baptist Chapel must be put right as soon as is practicable.

This historic building on Prospect Hill has suffered greatly down the years thanks to its location.

When the old Swindon College building and its extension were put up in the 1960s, the walls of the chapel began to crack. Even after repairs, traces of the damage were visible.

Now, with work progressing on the much-needed Regent Circus development, deacon Richard Cooke reports inch-wide cracks in the inner walls and two-inch gaps in the outer ones.

The building, he says, is moving on its foundations. Indeed, so unsafe it is that the congregation has been forced to retreat to the front room of Mr Cooke’s mother, who lives several miles away.

The deacon says the deterioration has coincided with nearby excavations for the new development. To their credit, the builders plan to carry out preliminary repair work, and we trust this will merely be the first stage of whatever procedure is necessary to restore the chapel to its former state.

We also trust that any other buildings nearby which suffer damage reasonably attributable to the work will similarly be restored.

In any large scale project such as this, problems for nearby structures are hardly uncommon, but a developer can score a major public relations victory by doing the right thing quickly and with good grace.

On that note, it might be appropriate for a temporary venue to be arranged for the Rehoboth congregation until they can return to their chapel.

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