THE former Octagon Chapel on Taunton's East Reach is to be converted into an antiques saleroom.

Greenslade Taylor Hunt has bought the property, built in 1964, and plans to relocate from its current antiques department in Winchester Street.

Chairman Derek Biss said plans included expanding the fine art section, and making it the leading South-West antiques house under auctioneers Stuart Triggol and Christopher Lanigan-O’Keeffe.

Mr Biss hopes the acquisition of the eight-sided building, which has on-site parking, unlike the current premises, will attract more antique shops to open nearby.

The premises echo the design of The Octagon, off Middle Street, which was originally built as a preaching house for 18th Century Methodist founder John Wesley.

Octagon Chapel overseer Robert Smith said it closed as a place of worship at the end of February last year with the congregation having dwindled to just 12.

“It was a sad day for us when it closed, but we had to be realistic,” said Mr Smith.

The money from the sale of the chapel is being administered by trustees who will distribute it to various organisations.