Refurbishment Approved To Grade II Listed Building

An application to refurbish a Grade II listed property on St Martin’s has been passed by planners subject to the final extent of the work being agreed.

The Duchy want to alter the internal layout of Bleak House as well as apply tanking to the external walls, replace the concrete floor, re-wire and re-plumb the building and repair or replace much of the internal woodwork. They also requested that the existing glasshouse be rebuilt and a lean-to extension demolished.

English Heritage stated in their report that they were concerned with some elements of the work, which they felt were not based on retaining as much of the historic fabric of the building as possible.

In particular, they did not like the fact that the glasshouse would be replaced by a new one, with a different number of glass panes. They also didn’t like the plan for tanking, which they felt could harm the building.

Planning Consultant, Bill Wilson, said that the Duchy had gone some way to responding to these concerns, but felt there were still areas in question, and he proposed that listed building consent be refused.

He wanted to see the unusual and historic ‘plank-and-munting’ wooden wall retained in its original position.

Fred Ticehurst asked why there was objection to the removal of some, relatively modern, features. He said we should be glad those were being replace by fittings more in keeping with the original ones.

Chris Savill felt there were some old granite cottages on St Martin’s where original features had been removed to meet building regulations.

But she said she was also conscious that this building had been standing empty since November and empty houses deteriorate. She also felt the need for housing was sufficient.

Chris proposed approving the application but with the condition that negotiations continue with the Duchy, and that was eventually passed by Councillors.