KNUTSFORD Cemetery Chapel is earmarked for a major revamp this summer in a bid to increase the viability and use of the building.

Knutsford Town Council is looking to spend £127,000 on the refurbishment of the 118-year-old Grade II listed chapel, which is in need of major work.

If the council receives listed building consent for the scheme the works could start by the end of June, and would take between six and eight weeks to complete.

The cost of the work, which includes new utilities connections, is being funded through a £52,000 grant from Cheshire East Council as part of it handing the chapel back to the town council, the balance being drawn from the sale proceeds of the Cemetery Lodge.

The series of works due to be undertaken include installing a kitchenette, accessible toilet and new heating system, redecoration and upgrading the lighting.

The chapel was managed by Cheshire East Council, and its predecessor Macclesfield Borough Council, from 1974 until last year, when it was returned to Knutsford Town Council.

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “Under the management of the borough council the use of the chapel dwindled, and the building was neglected.

“A building survey of the chapel was undertaken in 2016 and highlighted a significant amount of work is required.

“The town council aspires to see the chapel in regular use, and recognises in order to do so it must offer a modern and well-equipped facility that attracts users for a range of suitable uses.”

The chapel consists of three rooms; the main hall and two small anterooms.

The plan is to install a kitchenette into one anteroom and an accessible toilet in the second to provide the required facilities to enable the chapel to be used for functions.

Adam added: “Many areas internally are in a poor state of decoration.

“Penetrating damp has led to the paint blistering across the walls in the northern part of the chapel hall and anteroom. The parquet flooring in the anterooms is unvarnished and worn. The plaster is falling due to damp.”

The council wishes to remove the pews to make the chapel hall a flexible space.

Adam said: “While this will result in some loss of the heritage character of the chapel, this is balanced by the need to ensure the chapel is economically viable to operate as a community facility.

“The pews limit the functions that can be held in the space and are not comfortable seating.

“The council intends to purchase stackable seating to enable users to arrange chairs as they wish to, depending on the use of the space.”

The works include removing defective plasterwork, overhauling the rainwater goods, renewing steel beams above the cellar under a plant room, window repairs and upgrading the electrical system.

The scheme would also see the installation of a sound system and hearing loop, a glass door to the front and fire and intruder alarms.

“The proposed works will help bring the chapel into long-term use, increasing its viability and ensuring it can continue to bring a public benefit,” added Adam.

Listed building consent is being sought from Cheshire East Council, and comments on the application, 19/1855M, can be made on the council’s planning portal, until May 23.