Godolphin’s Community Right to Bid secures future of chapel

The village of Godolphin near Penzance is looking forward to a very happy 2018 after a successful Community Right to Bid allowed the Godolphin Cross Community Association to purchase the Old Chapel.

The group will have a very busy new year as they begin fundraising for the work needed to convert the chapel into a warm and welcoming community centre for the village.

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The former Chapel building is used by the community for a range of events such as the Scouts, Local Youth Group, coffee mornings, lunch events, gardening club, evening talks and many other activities.

Paul Gray, Godolphin Cross Community Association Secretary, said: “Although the local Methodists wanted us to have the building for the community and were very supportive, the ACV was invaluable. This was because Methodist Chapels do not belong to the local congregation but to head office who wouldn't have the same concern for local interest. Because of the nature of the activities already taking place in the building, the application for an ACV (designed to protect but not create community space) was very easy to write. It meant we were safe for 6 months from any 'intention to sell' notification during which to fund raise.”

Having used Community Right to Bid to secure six months to make their plans, Godolphin Cross Community Association then set about raising the £100k necessary to purchase the chapel, cover fees and any urgent remedial work.  They received generous donations from local people, a very generous personal donation from a member of the UAE Royal Family and a grant of £25,000 from The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (administered by Cornwall Development Company). They also staged numerous fund raising events including the always popular Summer Fete, held in the grounds of the Godolphin House, courtesy of the National Trust.

The group’s offer was accepted and the chapel’s future as a community centre has now been safeguarded. The next steps will be for the group to begin converting the building, their plans include roof repairs, providing universal access and installing a new kitchen. The regular activities have continued all the way through the process but the first event to be staged in the chapel now that it is under the group’s ownership was the Christmas Lights switch on 16th December 2017.

Community Right to Bid gives town and parish councils and community groups the chance to bid for local assets like recreation grounds and community centres if and when they come up for sale. Groups nominate local land and buildings that are mainly used to benefit the community to be listed as assets of community value by Cornwall Council.

Assets stay on the list for up to five years after being nominated by a community group or a town or parish council.  If an asset is offered for sale during this time, local community groups have up to six months to raise the money to make a bid to buy the asset on the open market. The sale takes place under normal market conditions and the owner has no obligation to sell to a community group.

More than 3,000 properties nationwide are protected under the Community Right to Bid legislation. In Cornwall they include pubs, village shops and halls, playing fields and even a fisherman’s shelter.

Cllr Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, said: “This is an excellent example of a community in Cornwall using their right to nominate and save a building that plays a major role in community life.  Godolphin can take great pride in their success, and I look forward to seeing their community centre develop.

“It would be wonderful to see more groups come forward to register community assets in their area.  Our Localism team are happy to advise groups on what can and can’t be nominated under Community Right to Bid and how to go about getting an asset listed.  There’s also plenty of advice on our website.”

More information is available on the Cornwall Council Community Right to Bid webpage. 

Story posted 09 January 2018