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Too high a price to pay!

That’s the heritage verdict on plans to convert a historic Malvern convent into ten homes.

The Victorian Society has written to Malvern Hills District Council, urging it to refuse permission for a residential conversion of the former gospel centre on Ranelagh Road in Malvern Link.

English Heritage and the Ancient Monuments Society have also registered objections to the scheme.

The Grade II-listed convent, which dates from 1869, was last used as a gospel centre by the Day of Salvation Ministries Ltd. It lies to the east of Ranelagh Road and includes a Grade II*-listed chapel by the celebrated church architect, Sir Ninian Comper.

The buildings have been empty and unused for five years and are now in a poor condition; much of the complex has been targeted by thieves and vandals who have damaged stonework and stripped lead from the roof.

'The convent site is crying out for a new use which will the secure the future of these important buildings,' said Edmund Harris, Churches Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'But the subdivision of Comper's dramatic chapel is simply too high a price to pay.'

The chapel is Grade II*-listed, a status awarded to less than 6% of all listed buildings.

He added: 'We also have grave concerns about the impact of the proposals on the wider convent site.'

More buildings lie to the west of Ranelagh Road but these are under different ownership. The Society believes that any plan for the historic convent needs to take all the original buildings into account.

Wednesday 29 February, 2012

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