PLANS to convert a near 150-year-old chapel into a flat have come under fire over a boundary dispute, among other concerns.

In October last year Gurdarshan Mandan and his wife put forward a bid to transform the former and vacant Primitive Methodist Chapel in Vernham Dean into a two-bedroom flat, but it was withdrawn three months later.

The couple have now returned with a second application, which, similarly to the previous plan, includes the internal alteration of the building, with the exterior expected to remain the same.

According to the application, the former place of worship which dates back to 1869 and replaced a previous building built in 1845, is in a “shell condition and requires a full program of works”.

However the scheme has drawn criticism over the lack of space, amenities and the matter of work already taking place, something that the owners deny.

Several neighbours living in the village and close to the chapel have written to Test Valley Borough Council objecting to the application.

One resident Katie Abberton said: “I am writing to object to the above application to change of use from chapel to dwelling.

“The chapel is not suitable for domestic dwelling and there is dispute as to boundary. There is no room for a septic tank and the village is not on mains sewage.”

Dr George Seale added: “The applicant has indicated there is parking at the chapel — there is no parking — parking is on the public highway.

“Existing parking at the chapel narrows the lane restricting access for ambulance and fire service vehicles.”

And in response of work starting, others said: “In response to this question the applicant has given a misleading response of no. Substantial work has been undertaken which have rendered the building unusable and unsafe.”

But the owners say that work has taken place, but they have bought materials and “this might lead them to think we already started the work”. They have also stated that there is not a dispute regarding the boundary as they have Land Registry documents which indicates the boundaries.

The couple said: “We want to live there peacefully and we really don’t want to upset anyone, after all we all are neighbours and want to create a peaceful environment.”