THE former offices of Newent Town Council could be converted to residential use if plans are approved.

The council was based at the lodge of Newent Cemetery until it moved to new premises a few years ago.

The council has applied to the Forest Council for a change of use permission for the Victorian building.

A report to Forest Council planners says: “The Cemetery Lodge is part of a fine assemblage of Victorian structures at the entrance to the cemetery with its close relationship to the gates, wing walls and cemetery chapels which adds to its overall character and significance. 

“Whilst it has been extended with a modest but architecturally undistinguished extension and the internal works during the second half of the 20th century have been utilitarian ones, the building remains an important one.”  

The building’s original purpose was to house the Sexton who looked after the cemetery. The town council later took over the role, and used it as their offices for more than 20 years from 1992.

The cemetery, was founded in 1863 when the two acres of ground and Lodge cost £1,300 – more than £76,000 at today’s prices.

The building has been empty since the council moved to its current offices in Ross Road, having declared the lodge unfit for purpose due to a health risk posed by damp and mould in 2014.

The report to planners adds: “A disabled ramp and steps lead from the Cemetery path, to a small front garden and entrance door.

‘‘The rear of the property is accessed by a path that wraps around the building giving access to the back door and rear garden.

“There is ample on-road parking at the front of the building on Watery Lane marked with a 30 mph speed restriction.”

It adds that an application for listed building consent will be made once a change of use is agreed.

“The building will need some refurbishment... and will be mostly internal, updating and modernisation…” it says.

“The rear garden will require some soft landscaping, ie hedging and shrubbery, to provide privacy for the adjacent residential property on the other side of the Lodge on Watery Lane.”

Gloucestershire’s highways department have called for a condition that ‘secure and covered cycle storage’ is provided to “promote” cycle use and sustainable transport.