Plans to convert a "beloved" former chapel, after it closed almost two years ago when it was left with one congregation member, into a home have been withdrawn.

Under the plans, the 137-year-old former Caersws Baptist Chapel and graveyard was set to be reconfigured as a two-storey three-bedroom house since being left vacant in April 2022.

Rebuilding the side entrance, opening up the rear gable to the garden and introducing sky lights to the roof were proposed, and repairing the chapel's external features.

It is not yet known whether a revised application will be submitted.


The building is next to a mix of detached and terraced homes and a short walking distance to another church and the main road.

A statement from Alice Bufton, agent to applicant Mr Bufton who owns the building, said the scheme hopes to provide a home to a young member of the community while also providing a "certain future for a beloved building that is a significant part of the streetscape in Caersws".

She said: "In recent times, many churches in Wales have been subject to closure due to a decreasing congregation, but these civic buildings still remain a focal point in the streetscapes’ of rural villages.

"In many unfortunate cases these buildings do not get a second life and are left to rot and ruin, vandalism and sadly demolition. The opportunity presented at the Baptist Church is one that aims to bring new life into a charming, but otherwise redundant building.

"The proposal put forward in this application seeks to upgrade the church to accommodate residential living for a young member of the local community wishing to remain in the area."

The application stated that the chapel's congregation shrank significantly over a few decades before a decision was taken to close it in April 2022. The last remaining member of the congregation joined the nearby Presbyterian Church of Wales in Main Street.

The chapel the went onto the market in November 2022 and has been vacant since it was bought by Mr Bufton.

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Cadw and Caersws Community Council said they had no objections to the proposal, but councillors did raise concerns about the gravestones which they felt there should be a requirement to treat the gravestones “with respect and that they should be maintained, preserved and stored accordingly”.

The council added: “Families should have access to the gravestones of family members should they wish to. Councillors also require reassurance that a record of graves will be kept for those who may wish to search information at any time in the future.”

Hafren Dyfrdwy said the development should not start until drainage plans for disposing surface water and foul sewage had been approved by Powys County Council to ensure there’s a “satisfactory means of drainage as well as reducing the risk of creating or exacerbating a flooding problem and to minimise the risk of pollution”.

Natural Resources Wales however raised that there was not enough information in the planning application that assesses the potential effects that the development may have on bats that could be roosting in the chapel. All bat species, their breeding sites and resting places are fully protected by law. The development can only go ahead with a licence issued by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) if bats are present.

The risk of flooding was also raised by NRW which states that the chapel is not in a defended zone.

“Whilst Caersws affords the benefit of NRW maintained flood defences, they are not considered to offer a standard of protection to satisfy technical advice note TAN15 nor facilitate future highly vulnerable development," the environmental body said.

"As the Flood Map for Planning has not adopted a defended zone for Caersws, our advice is precautionary and based on an assumption that the flood defences will/could overtop during the lifetime of any new development.

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“At this time, we advise that the Flood Consequences Assessment (FCA) has not correctly interpreted the flooding mechanism affecting the site and therefore failed to demonstrate that flooding consequences are acceptable and manageable in line with table A1.14 and A1.15 of TAN15.

“The FCA has made an assumption that the site is entirely protected by the flood defence embankment to the east of the site, this is incorrect as the mechanism of flooding is by means of the flood cell filling from overland flow originating near the road bridge to the west.

“The eastern flood embankment will eventually overtop during an extreme flood event.”