Planners Agree Changes To Grade-II Listed Building

old custom houseCouncillors have approved the reconfiguration of the Grade II-listed Custom House on the Lower Strand.

The owner successfully argued that he was investing heavily in renovation and would follow the principles of Blue Sail Tourism Report to improve the tourism offer in Scilly by attracting “a new breed of holiday maker” who is “much harder to please.”

The three accommodation units on the site can now be remodelled from the current four bedroom, three bedroom and one bedroom divisions into three units with three bedrooms each.

Neighbours did raise concerns that some rooms would be overlooked by the Scillonian Club fire escape and could seem noisy. But Chief Planning Officer Craig Dryden said it offered a “planning gain.”

An existing extension will be rebuilt and although larger, it will use quality materials and be more sympathetic. It’ll be single-storey and won’t be visually intrusive.

The Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty supported the replacement of the bulkhead courtyard lighting with soft, subdued lights, which will be less likely to add to light pollution.

Councillors also granted approval to alter an occupancy restriction placed on the ground floor flat. That will now transfer to the western apartment.

There had been a ban on anyone renting the unit for over 28 days and this will be extended to a three month limit in any year.

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough wanted to know how that would be policed, as he was worried someone could live there permanently. Craig advised that the property owner will have to keep a register of renters, which can be inspected at any time.