Save Petworth’s chapel

I write to oppose the proposal to demolish the Horsham Road Cemetery Chapel.

It is absolutely criminal this chapel and this locally historic cemetery have been neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair and disuse. Especially for the weak excuse as to ownership of the building – it belongs to Petworth.

Architecturally the chapel is a fine building and originally was very well built and of high quality, it is a little gem in Victorian Gothic revival taste and as such is an important building in a town in which of course there are many wonderful buildings. To lose this building would be like losing another gemstone from our wonderful collection of jewels!

It is the focal point of this Cemetery Arboretum Park with its fine specimen trees.

If you lose this building you might as well build housing on the cemetery and be done with it! I am thinking of future generations of Petworthians who will value this special place when it is surrounded by housing. There needs to be better access from the Shimmings valley into the cemetery and the grounds should be maintained in a minimum way. The chapel could be used by the community or as an artists workshop or just as a place of retreat.

There has got to be a way to save this chapel by such means as lottery funding or public fundraising. I do not believe enough effort has been made to explore ways of doing this. A combined effort by district council, town council, the church, the Leconfield Estate, developers of planned nearby housing and private donations is what is called for.

I would like to assist in any way I can.

John Bird

High Street