Derelict chapel to be wedding venue

A derelict building in Lye is to become a wedding venue after planning chiefs said yes to the proposal. The Grade II-listed chapel is to be restored and will house a register office for civil ceremonies.

Lye and Wollescote Chapel
Lye and Wollescote Chapel

It follows the redundant 19th century building being sold toThe West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust. Lye and Wollescote Chapel, on Cemetery Road in Lye, is to become the second registration office in the borough after Dudley Council yesterday announced the sale of the building to the charity.

The not-for-profit organisation will use a £1 million Heritage lottery fund to refurbish the site.

It has not been in use since 1993 but is expected to be open by April 2015 and is a rare surviving example of a cemetery chapel.

It is planned the building will eventually be leased back to Dudley Council for use as a registration office for marriages, citizenship ceremonies, naming ceremonies, civil partnership ceremonies and wedding vow renewals.

Duncan Lowndes, assistant director of culture and leisure at Dudley Council, said:“The current building is derelict and unusable.

“I am delighted that we have found a way to bring this beautiful landmark building back into public use at little cost to the public purse.”

This will allow the council to provide a unique and stunning ceremony venue in the south of the borough, while preserving a slice of local history.

Bob Tolley, chairman of The West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, added:“The important thing is that we will not just preserve, but conserve this amazing building and put it to a sustainable new use.

“As a charity we can tap into Lottery funds that are not available to councils.

“We are pleased to receive money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and excited to be able to save this building for the local community because it means so much to local people.

“It has been a focus for the trust for a number of years and that we are now able to bring our plans to fruition is testament to the hard work and dedication of many people.

Lye councillor and deputy council leader Pete Lowe welcomed the news that the chapel is to be restored to its former glory.

He said: “We are delighted that funding has been secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund to move this exciting project forward.

“I have visited the cemetery chapels on many occasions and, through our partnership with the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund, we now look forward to a bright future for this locally significant building.”

The council hopes it will help to fill the gap left since the former register office in Stourbridge closed in 2011 with the sale of the Crown Centre as part of the Tesco development.