LETTER: arson-hit chapel should be used for the community


Although I live just outside the area of Kimberley I get the newspaper regularly and have been reading the various comments about the Eastwood chapel.

I support the idea of a rebuild but there are questions that need addressing.

Principally what happens to it AFTER the chapel has been rebuilt?

What use would it be put to? Clearly not just a chapel as, doubtless, I suspect, it was unused a lot of the time and not much looked at by the church authorities.

Hence the vandals being attracted to the place to burn it down in the first place.

The answer is for the rebuilt chapel (with a buildings security package built into the council funding), to more actively serve the community.

E.g. local arts groups, tea and coffee mornings, local outdoor groups including it on their agenda when going out and about etc.

The church authorities also need to be engaged to find out what they plan to do with the new structure on an active basis.
Also I see that the DH Lawrence Society has weighed in with their historical perspective.
If it is, as Malcolm Gray, chairman of the society says, that the chapel is a place of pilgrimage as members of the author’s family are buried near to the chapel, then the society will need to be very practical in organising events within the community area that would draw the public to the site . In this regard, I seem to recall that their own premises at Eastwood were in danger of shutting down a couple of years back due mainly to lack of interest.
Given the will to publicise the chapel and keep it at the top of the community agenda for local activities, I see a genuine and useful role in return for the public funding that will be needed to restore the building. But not if it is simply going to be left in the woods, to slowly decay through lack of interest, as, it appears, the last one was.

Brian George