Cambridge chapel open-market offer 'devastates' campaigners

Campaigners Image copyright Petersfield Area Community Trust
Image caption Campaigners sold shares to residents and businesses in a bid to save the chapel for the community

Campaigners who raised more than £600,000 to buy a Methodist chapel say they are "devastated" the building has been put on the open market.

The Save Our Space group set up a scheme selling £250 shares to buy the chapel in Sturton Street, Cambridge.

Despite bidding the asking price of "in excess of £600,000", an estate agent is now advertising it for sale.

The Methodist Church said it was "bound by charity law" to put the building on the market.

The chapel closed in the autumn after the congregation dwindled and the upkeep became "unmanageable", Anna Drew, spokeswoman for the Methodist Church said.

Image copyright Petersfield Area Community Trust
Image caption Campaigners submitted their bid to buy the chapel two weeks ago

The campaign group was given a six-month "community asset moratorium" to raise funds, before the church put the property on the market on 1 March.

'Outstanding opportunity'

They hoped the chapel and hall could be converted to provide a nursery, a space for older people to meet and a venue for a number of local clubs.

After an "overwhelming public response", the group submitted a bid two weeks ago.

However, the chapel has now been listed by a Cambridge estate agency as an "outstanding opportunity... subject to appropriate planning permission".

Campaign founder Fiona Neilson, said: "Despite this huge effort by the community, we have been informed that the site will be sold to the 'best' bidder.

"We believe the Methodist Church should be grasping this exceptional opportunity to make possible further good work in this community."

Mrs Drew said: "As we have explained to the group throughout the process, we are bound by charity law, which requires us to put the property on the open market.

"Doing so is not a decision in opposition to the bid placed by the Save Our Space group, but the only course of action which we can legally take."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites