I have thought long and hard about the various suggestions regarding renovations to the Kimberley ‘chapel on the hill’ and have to conclude that the most sensible solution would be to demolish it.
As I understand it, the building is not, and never was a chapel – it was never consecrated. In truth the building would be better described as a folly.
And, in my opinion, to spend any money on renovations of any description would also be a folly.
If my understanding is correct, the building was ‘given’ to the town council by the borough council on the basis that the upkeep was uneconomical, and unjustifiable.
If the borough council, with its larger purse could not justify expenditure, then how can the town council? This is not a chapel; it is a millstone, and no matter how much money is spent on it, it will never see a return on expenditure to amortise costs.
The position of the building with no access to sewerage, plumbing, little in the way of parking facilities, difficulty in getting to it by foot, and the mere fact that it is in the middle of a cemetery all add up to one thing. It will never, ever, be used to any great extent, for any purpose. Now let’s re-focus on another pressing matter regarding Kimberley’s heritage buildings.
The town’s war memorial is in desperate need of repair and renovation. It is an iconic building – as I understand it: the only domed town war memorial in this country, but it is presently structurally unsafe and in need of urgent repairs.
So why no replace the building on top of the hill, with a repositioned war memorial where it could be seen clearly as an iconic landmark for this town?
And what better place to have a war memorial than in a cemetery?
And I’m sure that, with a little bit of effort, external funding could be found to help financially to achieve this.
Upkeep costs, once it is laid on sound foundations, would be minimal.
There would be no need for toilets, sewerage, no heating bills, and minimal running costs.
So please, let’s cast aside all emotive thought and ditch the baggage – it is destructive.
Instead, take a fresh, pragmatic, look at things because I, for one, am getting sick and tired of all the bickering which is reducing this town, its elders, and its council to a laughing stock.
(Lt. Colonel, Ret’d)