People power has won the day and the green light has been given for plans to rebuild the historic Eastwood Cemetery chapel, which was destroyed in a devastating arson attack.
The iconic building, which has connections with Eastwood-born author DH Lawrence, is now set to be returned to its former glory with extra facilities and used as a community facility — at a cost of up to £50,000.
Its future was secured at a Broxtowe Borough Council cabinet meeting on Tuesday night (June 24) as councillors met to discuss the ‘overwhelming’ response they received from a public consultation over plans for the building, which was reduced to a shell by the blaze in April.
More than 2,000 residents were asked for their views on what should happen to the chapel. Five options in a document sent out by the council included complete demolition or restoration.
Councillor Milan Radulovic, leader of Broxtowe Council, said they were overwhelmed by the number of responses they recieved, with 621 people having their say.
He added: “Thankyou to everyone who responded to the consultation on the Chapel, we had an overwhelming number reply. The largest percentage of responses urged the council to seek a full resoration and upgrading of the building to include facilities to enable better usage.
“This was unanimously agreed by cabinet and we will now seek full costing and appraisals of the restoration, including a timetable for the works. Thankyou for all your support.”
As well as a full reconstruction, extra facilities will also be part of the plans which includes sewage, water, toilets, lighting, parking and heating so it can be used by the community.
Councillor Ken Woodhead, the Mayor of Eastwood, said that he welcomed the proposals.
He added: “This is brilliant news, it’s absolutely fabulous. The building is a part of Eastwood heritage and it should be restored.
“I welcome the reconstruction and I think the people of Eastwood will too, it’s really good news.”
Members of the Eastwood-based DH Lawrence Society have called for the building to be restored as members of the famous author’s family are buried close to the building.
David Brock, editor of the society’s newsletter, backed the decision.
He said: “It’s absolutely marvellous, I would love for us to be able to hold events there in the future, naturally I am delighted.
“I welcome the good news, it’s brilliant.”