The charming old chapel and cemetery with beautiful views of Kimberley is yet again centre of controversy. The chapel, which was used for weddings and funerals has fallen into disrepair and is currently not in use. Some time ago Kimberley Town Council took over ownership of the property with a view to renovating and extending it with a conservatory.
Following a small out-sourced consultation, which cost an amazing £11,500, the Town Council applied for a grant of £35,000 from Broxtowe Borough Council and earmarked an additional £50,000 for development. The proposal collapsed when the grant was turned down. More importantly, an offer by local community builders to renovate the property without charging for labour, merely for materials – at a cost of approximately £11,000, the same value as the consultation – was ignored. David Kirwan, Green Parliamentary Candidate for Broxtowe resigned from the Town Council last summer, over the chapel and the general running of the council; he argued that the consultation was very expensive and did not deliver what had been promised when it was commissioned and in the meantime the community was not able to make use of their beloved chapel for two years.
Now, Jim McDonald, a local Labour Town Councillor has put forward a proposal to renovate the property and install a small kitchenette and toilets at an estimated cost of £40,000. There are no quotes and no business plan for recouping the costs nor providing for ongoing maintenance.
Commenting on the whole process Kat Boettge, Kimberley Town Councillor, said ‘there are a number of issues here; first and foremost the costs listed in the proposal are seemingly guestimates without any clear quotes; secondly I think it would be appropriate to show three different quotes to allow a sound understanding for full costs. Third, where is the business plan showing how the renovated chapel will be able to contribute to recouping the cost of renovation and ongoing maintenance? Fourth, why has the low cost offer to restore the chapel from local community builders not been followed up? Finally, why was a small consultation outsourced, did it really need to cost £11,500 and was it value for money?’ Cllr Boettge has been contacted by several members of the community with various concerns. She would like that their points of view are heard. “Considering the history of controversy over the chapel, it would have been appropriate to offer two proposals including one covering basic renovations to enable the chapel to return to its original use, but without a kitchenette or toilet, which are not strictly necessary for weddings or funerals.”
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