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Plans unveiled for Wymondham chapel

PUBLISHED: 18:48 02 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 16 September 2010

Adam Gretton

A 12th century chapel is set to move into the 21st century after an arts organisation unveiled plans for a modern extension.

The Grade I listed Becket's Chapel - Wymondham's former library - took on a new life last year after being leased by the Wymondham Arts Forum.

A 12th century chapel is set to move into the 21st century after an arts organisation unveiled plans for a modern extension.

The Grade I listed Becket's Chapel - Wymondham's former library - took on a new life last year after being leased by the Wymondham Arts Forum.

The building, which has already received 9,000 visitors this year in its new role as the Wymondham Arts Centre, will exhibit plans for its future development next week.

Officials from the Wymondham Arts Forum commissioned local architects Lucas Hickman Smith to draw up proposals to improve the gallery space, upgrade kitchen and toilet facilities, and provide more space for storage, meetings and concerts.

The drawings, which will go on display from Tuesday, include plans for a modern extension that would create a new south aisle at the chapel in Church Street.

Arthur Lucas, chairman of the arts centre steering group, said the proposals aimed to preserve the historic quality of the building, whilst contributing to the town centre streetscape.

He added that the improvements, if approved, would increase capacity for events and reduce running costs with modern heating, lighting, and insulation.

“It is a modern extension, but one that is sensitive to the existing building. It is less than £1m, but it is a substantial sum. It is difficult, but it is the sort of thing that will attract people's attentions.”

“This is a first step in a long road, needing discussion with the building's owners, planners, heritage authorities, and potential funders,” he said.

The £6,000 survey was funded by Wymondham Town Council and South Norfolk Council and aims to secure the long-term use of the building.

The chapel, which was built in 1174, was Wymondham's Library for 60 years until it closed almost two years ago when a modern library opened in Back Lane.

The Wymondham Arts Forum has secured a nine month lease of Becket's Chapel this year from owner, the Wymondham Old Grammar School Foundation.

The proposals will be presented at a forum meeting from 7.30pm on Tuesday at the arts centre.

For more information, visit www.wymondhamarts.com or call Barbara Randall on 01953 601939.

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