Listed building granted planning permission sparks outrage in Wimbish

Three Chimneys in Wimbish

Three Chimneys in Wimbish - Credit: Archant

Furious villagers have spoken of their outrage after planners agreed to the partial demolition of a listed building.

They say Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has rushed through the application without giving their views due consultation, to save hassle.

The medieval building in Lower Green, Wimbish, is one of the oldest thatched houses left in the village and was recently given Grade II-listed status by Historic England, and residents do not want it demolished.

Part of the building that is not as old, estimated to be Victorian, is the section up for demolition – to make room for an L-shaped one-and-a-half storey extension to the house.

The application stated the proposed extension matched the layout of the building before the Victorian addition was made.

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Conditions have been placed as part of the planning approval, including use of certain materials and timber that cannot be cut.

Those in favour argue because this part of the property is not of the same era, it does not carry as much significance, whereas those against argue a modern extension will affect the whole character of the old house.

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Historic England was consulted in the planning process, submitting a letter which said: “[The demolition] would entail the loss of some of the historical complexity characteristic of a building of this age.”

The letter continues that the work would cause “some harm”, but that ultimately it is the council’s decision.

An original planning application was submitted in November 2015 when the building was not listed – while a second application was submitted after it was listed. The second application was approved last month.

Elizabeth Bicknell, a Lower Green resident, said: “We feel our point of view has not been taken into consideration at any point.

“When you walk in our village, everybody looks at this single handsome thatched building and the site is really rare.”

She described the planning permission as like “vandalism” from the council.

Wimbish Parish Council also commented on the process, saying in a letter: “We are also concerned at the lack of consultation and the apparent haste to have the application agreed by officers when it was known that English Heritage were about to consider listing the property.”

Several objections were made during the planning process, but also some supporting comments.

Barbara Bosworth, UDC conservation officer, concluded in a report: “The further new wing, in terms of design and detailing, would be in keeping with the cottage and its location at the extreme northern end of the heritage asset would not unduly diminish its primacy as the thatched cottage would be uppermost visible on entering the site.”

Commenting on the row a council spokesman said: “A full report was presented to planning committee on September 21 when members considered and approved the application for listed building consent.”

The applicants had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to press.

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