AN APPEAL to convert Crewkerne Baptist Church in North Street into seven residential units has been dismissed.

The planning application, made by Brookvale Homes for alterations and a change of use, was refused be South Somerset District Council earlier this year.

The plans would have seen the grade II listed chapel, which was built in the 1820s and 1830s, enclosed with the rear building subdivided.

Planning inspector David Nicholson said although the best way to preserve a listed building is often to keep it in active use, he thinks community or institutional use would be less likely to cause harm to the building.

He said: "In my view this change in access and activity as well as the physical alterations, would detract from the chapel's special interest and so cause significant harm to the listed building.

"To the extent that these changes would be apparent from the public realm, the proposal would also fail to preserve or enhance a building which I consider makes a positive contribution to the Crewkerne Conservation Area."

He added: "The appellant has advised me that the building no longer meets the needs of the congregation.

"Nevertheless, it is still in use as a chapel, has not been declared redundant, and I have limited evidence that it could not continue as a chapel for some time to come."