Anger over plans to demolish 300-year-old Stevenage cottage to make way for new homes

Plans to demolish a 300-year-old cottage and build four new houses have been met with anger. CREDIT:

Plans to demolish a 300-year-old cottage and build four new houses have been met with anger. CREDIT: Juliet Walters. - Credit: Archant

Plans to demolish a 300-year-old cottage to make way for four new houses have been met with fierce objection by those desperate to retain its history.

Juliet Walters’ mother lived in The Cottage in Stevenage’s Fishers Green for 45 years before she died, painstakingly renovating it to retain many of its original features.

The Cottage was sold in February and the new owner, Craig Scudder, has submitted a planning application to Stevenage Borough Council to demolish the building and erect four three-bedroom semi-detached houses.

More than 100 people have lodged objections with the council, concerned a building of historical significance will be lost, and a Facebook campaign has been mounted.

Juliet said: “Our late mum and dad would be absolutely devastated if they knew this was happening. It was more than just a home to them.”

Peter Simpson, who lives next door, said: “We object strongly. In addition to being a defining landmark of the area, it is one of the few remaining examples of Stevenage’s pre-war heritage.

“The Cottage has actually been part of Stevenage’s landscape for over 300 years and may be one of the most important examples of our history.

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“What makes this cottage unique is that many of the original features that date it to the 17th century have been retained and are visible internally.”

Juliet’s step-sister, Melanie Crawford Trotman, said her mother fell in love with The Cottage when she was evacuated to the area during World War II and it was a much-loved family home.

She added: “It will be such a loss, not only to Stevenage, but to the history of English houses if this demolition is allowed to go ahead.”

Juliet said the family understands new homes are needed, but believes the owner could build alongside The Cottage in a sympathetic manner.

Mr Scudder said: “Our planning application will help to address the local and national shortage of new houses.

“Our proposal is not revolutionary. There are two pairs of semi’s next door, sitting on a combined plot the same size as ours.

“The Cottage is a mish mash of a building. Since it was originally built as a set of three terraced cottages, it has been remodelled and extended a number of times and is now of no consistent character and totally unsuitable for modern living.”

In response, Juliet said: “My parents extended it very tastefully and it was very very beautiful inside. The bathroom was downstairs and these days I suppose people want upstairs bathrooms, but that could have been done fairly easily.

“The home was loved and cared for, and so beautiful. The garden too was stunning and she was digging new flower beds five weeks before her death.”