A LYME Regis resident has called for the town council to take more action in repairing and restoring its cemetery chapels.
Rachael Pope has spoken at two council meetings in recent weeks, asking for the council to give the two chapels in the town’s cemetery off Charmouth Road some much-needed attention.
Work has recently taken place to repair the roof and address the issue of water ingress in one of the chapels – seldom opened to the public – for the cost of £1,523 plus VAT, and further quotes are now being sought for specialist lime plaster repair to the cracks inside the building, expected to cost a further £1,700 plus VAT.
Once this work is complete, a conservation specialist will be employed to return the internal decoration to its original state and a general specialist clean of the walls may be undertaken.
However, Ms Pope said more work was required, including on the doors.
She also suggested that the more easterly chapel, now used for storage for local organisations, also required maintenance.
Speaking at a recent meeting, she commented: “Sadly, this is the chapel that is used a storage room. One person described it as a ‘great shame’ and referred to it as a ‘junk room’. I have to agree that it looks like that. It is a great shame.”
Referring to a platform which was installed inside the chapel to create more storage space, Ms Pope continued: “The platform and ladder that was put in is probably worth more than all the objects that are stored there.
“Personally, I would have liked to have seen this chapel open to the public during the day as they visit the cemetery, somewhere to go for quiet reflection.
“The platform, however, has ruined the chapel, as it was put across the main stained glass window.
“I am told that the council has a legal responsibility to maintain the cemetery and its buildings. I have also been told that several people over a number of years have tried to draw attention to the need for ongoing maintenance, Some have been told that money was allocated, only to find nothing was actually done.
“The problem with the chapels is a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
“With regards to the western chapel, it will now be more expensive to solve maintenance problems, as the plaster and stencils now need specialist attention.”
Ms Pope also suggested that an information board outlining the history of the chapels could be installed in the cemetery, and at a later meeting also put forward a suggestion for a wildlife information board.