Historic Stevenage building demolished without permission

The Old Smithy - Hugh Madgin

The Old Smithy - Hugh Madgin - Credit: Archant

Part of a Grade II-listed building deemed to be of “huge historical importance” has been demolished without permission.

The Old Smithy as it originally stood

The Old Smithy as it originally stood - Credit: Archant

A planning application to connect a house in Hertford Road, Stevenage, with an outbuilding – believed to date back to at least the 17th century – was approved in July.

Builders were hired to carry out the work last week on behalf of planning applicant owner Paul Garner, but instead of the planned extension, the outbuilding – known as the Old Smithy – was knocked down.

The building was one of the first staging posts built on the main London to Peterborough coach route, and was also used as a sweet shop in World War II.

Nearby resident James Fraser, who saw the demolition occurring last Thursday, said: “This building is of huge local historical importance yet I saw the builders tearing into it and smashing it to pieces. I see this as a disgusting, mindless act of sheer vandalism and stupidity.

“It is shameful. How a building can survive in superb condition for about 500 years only to be wilfully destroyed for nothing is something I find very difficult to accept.”

A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council said: “The council granted planning permission and listed building consent to the owners of the Old Smithy building on Hertford Road to for an extension to connect the main house to the outbuilding.

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“However, it has been brought to our attention that the outbuilding has been demolished. This is a breach of planning permission and we are currently working with the owner and his architect to determine why the outbuilding has been demolished. Once this has been established, we will be looking into what our options and next steps will be.”

The Comet contacted Mark Grainger, the agent responsible for submitting the planning application on behalf of the building’s owner Mr Garner, but he declined to comment.