BaR News Round-Up - September 2022

Chatham House, 351 High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA 

This most handsome 18th century grade II* townhouse has, for the last decade or so been more famous for its decayed appearance than its history. It is a well-known building having served as the furniture department of local Kent department stores, Featherstones.  At the rear are the remains of a brewery, making for a fascinating mix of structures. However, after sustained work by the Council and the owners, there are plans in place to restore and convert the property so that it may, once again, be brought back into use and be accessible to the public. The plans will be multi-phased, as different areas of the site will require different treatments to bring them back into full occupation. In 2020 Medway Council was awarded £1.6 million in government funding to revitalise the area, and  £200,000 will be used to completely restore the front of the building as the first step to return the site to its former glory and get the building back into use. 

Pier Cottage, Pier Road, Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear NE30 4DG

Pier Cottage (built for the pier watchman) in is a wonderful location with superb views up to Tynemouth Priory and within sight of the Sailing Club and the mouth of the River Tyne. The pretty cottage stands in a generous garden and has had planning permission to create a large extension.  Sadly, the building has been empty for a considerable number of years and urgent repairs are needed to the brick, leadwork and the paintwork on the bargeboards and finials. Pier Cottage sold in around 2019, giving a new owner the chance to breathe new life into this neglected building.  However, no work has commenced and this attractive historic building in an exceptional location continues to stand empty.

Church Bank Chapels and Lodge House, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear NE28 7LH 

Church Bank Cemetery was established around 1890. It is a relatively small but pleasant cemetery laid out with paths and now dotted with trees of various kinds.  It is a welcome semi-formal green space in this area of mixed uses including residential.  It is close to the banks of the Tyne and near to the famous Segedunum site which houses an excellent museum on Hadrian's Wall and the fort which stood there in Roman times.  The cemetery's two relatively small chapels and large lodge house are all for sale via the Council and have been empty and disused for some time.  The buildings are well-known local landmarks which have been in a poor condition for years.  They could be repurposed with the lodge house being converted to residential and the chapels restored and reopened for community use as a cafe, places for reflection, shelter or meetings. It would be a good project for a local group wanting to create a community resource and the Council have indicated that they would be open to discussing a range of possible uses for the chapels. Click here to go to the sales particulars.