The Friends of Down Cemetery in Trowbridge are to be granted a 25-year lease on the old non-conformist chapel at its entrance.

The group wants the long lease to secure the future of the chapel and plans to use it to benefit the local community once it has been restored and modernised.

Trowbridge Town Council’s neighbourhood services committee approved the request at its meeting on Tuesday (March 26).

Officers will now work with the Friends of the Down Cemetery to present proposals to a future neighbourhood services committee no later than June 11.

A town council officer said: “This recommendation highlights the importance and value of recognizing the committed volunteers and the council will be looking forward to developing this valuable relationship with the friends of the Down Cemetery.

“As a constituted group with a long-term tenancy, funding could be obtained to restore it to be used as a community space ‘managed/leased by/to the Friends’ for their proposed events.”

Wiltshire Times: The Non-Conformist Chapel at The Down Cemetery in Trowbridge. Image: Trevor Porter 76913-2The Non-Conformist Chapel at The Down Cemetery in Trowbridge. Image: Trevor Porter 76913-2 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Robert Wall, chair of the Friends of Down Cemetery, says the group has some fantastic ideas on how they can use the chapel to benefit the community.

He says the group would love the chapel to be returned to a good condition to host small events and information/exhibitions.

“Ideas we have in mind include bat talks, history walks, bird talks, reading groups, and wreath-making, with attendees sourcing the materials from the site, as well as using it for our meetings and AGMs”.

But first the chapel needs some restoration work to the floor, electric works and small repairs to windows and doors neglected by Wiltshire Council and contractors.