Former church could be converted into five bedroom house

A FORMER church in Wellow could be converted into a five-bedroom house — with a private burial ground at the end of the back garden.

Thought to be the oldest surviving original baptist church on the Island, having being built in 1814, Wellow Baptist Church, on Main Road, could undergo transformation if the Isle of Wight Council approve the full planning permission.

Over two storeys, the church building, which planning agents say is in considerable need of structural repairs, could be turned into an ‘attractive and unusual dwelling’ with predominately interanal works, leaving the external appearance largely unchanged.

The church hall behind the main building, which was built over 30 years ago and cleared headstones to make way for the hall, would be demolished as it is in an apparent state of disrepair.

Proposed by the Baptist Union Corporation, in Didcot, the site, due to dwindling numbers in the congregation, was formerly closed in 2017.

Also at the site is a private burial ground and it is proposed a public path be installed to allow the family of loved ones buried there to access the site.

However, plans show that although nothing would be built on burial plots, to maintain the private area, all graves under 50 years old would be separated from the back garden of the house, by a wooden fence.

In a planning statement, however, it is thought there may be up to six more interments in the coming years but after that the site will be closed to new plots.

According to the statement, the developers have communicated with every person who registered an interest in the burial ground and it says the revised building plans and site management proposal feedback had been generally positive and encouraging.

Previous plans were submitted last year to build two detached houses on the site, in conjunction with a development of Colwell Baptist Church.

Comments on the application (20/00672/FUL) can be made for 21 days after the application is advertised, from Friday, May 15.