Hands off our heritage!
JUBILANT campaigners are celebrating after winning their battle to save two old cottages from being demolished. They are putting their victory down to people power. The protesters went to war over 37 and 38 Queen Street which are known as Titmore Cottages
JUBILANT campaigners are celebrating after winning their battle to save two old cottages from being demolished.
They are putting their victory down to people power.
The protesters went to war over 37 and 38 Queen Street which are known as Titmore Cottages and are squeezed between the Mercedes car dealership and a church.
The owners of the dealership, Nelgus Holdings, asked for planning permission to knock down the properties, level the site and use it as an additional car display area.
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They appealed after North Herts District Council turned down the application but this week came the news that an independent planning inspector had refused the appeal.
He said that the use of a much wider frontage for car sales display would detract from the street scene.
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Nelgus Holdings contended that the cottages added nothing to the street scene and had no particular historical character that made them worthy of preservation.
But the inspector considered that the dwellings did form part of the street scene that included the listed buildings to the south and, when approached from the south, they helped considerably to screen the canopy and garage from view.
Watchdog group Hitchin Forum led opposition to demolition of the "pleasing pair" of Edwardian cottages which adjoin the town's conservation area.
In asking for the appeal to be dismissed, it requested the inspector to also issue an enforcement notice requiring the cottages to be brought up to a habitable standard, including removal of display vehicles from the front gardens.
After getting the appeal verdict, a Hitchin Forum spokesman said: "Small as they are, these cottages are a significant part of the Queen Street building heritage.
"This decision shows it really is worthwhile objecting to the wrong kind of development proposals.
"Although it often feels like the planning process has been sterilised of its democratic nature, this proved people power is not dead.
"This may be but one small nail in the coffin of predatory developers, but it sends out the right message - keep your greedy hands off our heritage.