Council urged to help save historic chapel

Tyldesley Top Chapel
Tyldesley Top Chapel

A group of history enthusiasts is urging Wigan Council to buy a historic chapel to help them preserve it for community use.

Residents with a passion for the borough’s past are considering forming the Tyldesley Building Preservation Trust (TBPT) to prevent the town’s Top Chapel being sold on the open market.

There is no way a brand new organisation would be in a position to put quite a bit of money down on the table to acquire it.

Peter Rowlinson

Those looking to set the group up say they would need the local authority to step in as they would not immediately be able to attract enough money in grants to cover the cost of buying the building. The Top Chapel is currently subject to a moratorium which was imposed by the town hall when the current owner Cadence Café CIC tried to sell it at auction earlier this year.

This has allowed community groups time to register an interest in taking the grade II-listed building on, but it is thought no-one has so far come forward.

Peter Rowlinson, one of TBPT’s potential trustees said: “There is no way a brand new organisation would be in a position to put quite a bit of money down on the table to acquire it.

“Nothing has happened in the last months so we’ve backed away, but the possibility still exists. I’ve made it clear to the council they are critical to the process.”

Brendan Whitworth, Wigan Council’s assistant director for legal services, said: “Funding from the Communities Investment Fund was given to Cadence Café CIC to assist it in carrying out a community project.

“The Communities Investment Fund, as part of The Deal, seeks to encourage residents to get involved in their community to help solve some of the borough’s biggest social problems. It is important to note that the funding paid to Cadence Cafe CIC was about delivering services to the community and not to preserve Top Chapel, other than as a potential base. Even if the building had been purchased by Cadence Café CIC, it could still have been sold, subject to certain restrictions. Discussions with the owner are on-going.”