Controversial plans to demolish 350-year-old Stevenage cottage are rejected

PUBLISHED: 07:01 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 21:43 28 August 2018

Permission to demolish a 350-year-old cottage and build four new houses has been refused. CREDIT: Juliet Walters.

Permission to demolish a 350-year-old cottage and build four new houses has been refused. CREDIT: Juliet Walters.

Archant

Planning permission to demolish a 350-year-old cottage and build four new houses in its place has been refused.

Melanie Crawford Trotman’s mother lived in The Cottage in Stevenage’s Fishers Green for 45 years before she died, and the property was sold to Craig Scudder in February last year.

He subsequently submitted a planning application to Stevenage Borough Council to demolish the building and erect four three-bedroom semi-detached houses.

More than 170 people lodged objections with the council, concerned a building of historical significance would be lost, and the local authority’s planning and development committee has now rejected the application.

The committee concluded that: “The proposed demolition of the cottage would result in the loss of an historic property to the detriment of the character and visual amenities of the area, and the benefit of the residential development would not compensate for the loss of this property.”

Melanie said: “Hurray! We won the fight thanks to all the objectors and the valiant efforts of the neighbours who presented the case to prevent demolition.

“It was so awful to think all that history and love would be lost, though the beautiful garden has been trashed. But gardens can grow again, 350-year-old cottages can’t be rebuilt.”

Melanie said her mother fell in love with The Cottage when she was evacuated to the area during the Second World War and it was a much-loved family home.

She said her mother had painstakingly renovated it to retain many of its original features.

Mr Scudder says he plans to appeal the council’s decision. He said: “There really were no firm planning grounds to turn the application down.

“The councillors were under the mistaken impression that the cottage is still a good example of a 17th century dwelling. It isn’t. Vast portions of the cottage are not original.”

Following the council’s refusal last week, Mr Scudder has now submitted an application solely to demolish The Cottage and, if approved, intends to raze the cottage to the ground by mid-October.

He said: “Parts of the dwelling are beginning to look dangerous and we are suffering from vandalism. There is a realistic chance trespassers could be injured if the cottage isn’t taken down.”

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