Fight to save old cottages in Stalham


The cottages in Stalham which neighbours want to see saved

The cottages in Stalham which neighbours want to see saved

Waterside residents in Stalham are campaigning to stop a plan that would see the demolition of two historic wherrymans cottages and their replacement by arts and crafts style properties.

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Neighbours to the cottages, Arcady and Utopia, in Utopia Way, off Mill Road, are being supported in their objections by the town council and Broads Society, which describes the style of the proposed replacements as alien to the traditional architecture associated with this part of the Broads .

The planning application by the Leventon family, who live in Hampshire and use the cottages as a holiday home, was recommended for approval by Broads Authority planning officers.

However, the authority s planning committee agreed to defer its decision until its meeting on April 27 before which members will carry out a site visit on April 20.

The cottages which date to 1798 are visible from the river as craft approach Stalham staithe.

They were built as a home for the wherrymen who brought heavy goods up the river Ant to Stalham and took away cargoes of corn from the nearby mill.

Teacher Andrew Richardson, who lives next to the cottages, said: Although they are pretty, they are in need of repair and it is understandable that the owners want to do something with them.

But a lot of people, including representatives of the Broads Society and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, share our view that demolition and replacement is not the right way forward.

Dr Richardson feels the historical value of the cottages should be considered; for two centuries they had been a focus for artists and more recently photographers.

They had even featured on a postcard for turn-of-the-century Broads holidaymakers.

The neighbours argue that the style of the proposed replacements would be out of keeping with what is a conservation area.

They are also concerned that the footprint of the new properties would be different and they would overlook their homes.

The town council strongly objects to the scheme, concerned by the overall size and height of the proposed replacement.

While objecting to the plans for a replacement, the Broads Society is not against the properties being demolished.

Michael Haslam, planning consultant to the Leventons, said: The cottages could be repaired but they would require substantial rebuilding including raising the roof.

The end product would not be the same and given that they are not listed the family feels it is better to demolish them and replace them with buildings that would meet 21st century standards of insulation.

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Fight to save old cottages in Stalham

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