Historic Petworth chapel may be converted to home

An Ebenezer chapel in Petworth, which closed two years ago when its congregation was down to one, could be converted into a house.

The building was one of many 19th-century chapels across the country which accommodated congregations of the protestant dissenters, Strict Baptists.

The Petworth chapel, in Park Road, has been in the trusteeship of the Gospel Standard Trust since 1906, but in the 100 years since then its congregation dwindled.

In November, 2006, when it finally closed, there was one remaining worshipper, a woman in her 80s.

Now the trust is seeking to sell the property with planning consent to convert it into a one-bedroomed house.

In its application to Chichester District Council, it says the exterior of the building, which is in the Petworth conservation area, will be retained with no change.

Inside, however, the worshipping area will become the main living room, the store will be a bedroom and the vestry will be converted into a kitchen.

A courtyard at the back will provide amenity space.

The Gospel Standard Trust says proceeds from the sale will be shared between two long-established charities.

Petworth historian Peter Jerrome said the building was a genuine survivor of its time.

Many members of its early 20th-century congregations were people who walked in from farms in the countryside around the town.

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