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Community / No community takeover as Methodist Church puts Nesting Chapel on market

The Nesting Methodist chapel. Photo: Sylvia Anderson

THE POSSIBILITY of a community purchase of a chapel in Nesting appears to have come to an end following the Methodist Church’s decision to put the building on the market.

The former Methodist Chapel, built in 1857 and extended around the 1930s, is priced at offers over £50,000.

It comes after attempts by the Community Development Company of Nesting (CDCN) to find a possible community use for the building.

Prior to the Covid pandemic CDCN and the Methodist Church explored potential shared usage of the chapel but that did not yield a viable proposition.

In mid-2022, the Church informed CDCN of its intention to sell the property in the near future.

CDCN subsequently investigated options for keeping the chapel for the benefit of the community, launching an ‘invitation for ideas’ campaign in the Nesting area in September last year, receiving a total of 14 responses – including ideas for social housing and childcare.

After assessing multiple factors, social housing emerged as the most feasible option.

CDCN said it engaged with local entities and the Scottish Government’s Islands Housing Fund to explore options for this, as well as grants for a feasibility study.

However, CDCN decided only to proceed with this option if no other group(s) expressed interest in pursuing alternative ideas for the chapel.

A ‘presentation of ideas’ event was therefore held by CDCN in May this year at the chapel with the church’s approval.

However, there was limited attendance, and no groups indicated a desire to explore other options.

CDCN therefore requested more time from the Methodist Church to secure funding for a feasibility study on social housing.

However, after considering the request, the Church determined it could not delay the sale further given their need to secure funds for the work of the Methodist Church across Shetland.

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Rev. Dr. Andrew Fox of the Methodist Church said: “We are appreciative of the work that the CDCN have put into trying to secure a viable community use for the premises, and we are not without hope that a purchaser may make use of the property in that way.”

Mark Ratter, CDCN development officer said: “A key part of CDCN’s mission is to explore possibilities for buildings used by the public in the area to be retained to continue benefitting the community.

“As such, CDCN had intended to explore options for converting the chapel into social housing.

“We do however understand the church’s stance and reasons for deciding to move forward with the sale and we would like to thank the Church for having allowed us the time to look at community options for the chapel.”

It comes as a Church of Scotland kirk in Shetland’s South Mainland is set to close and go on the open market after a community takeover failed to materialise.

The Dunrossness church dates back to the late 1700s, and it is set to host its final service at the end of August.

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