Residents gather to halt Gunnels demolition

PUBLISHED: 10:44 21 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

A UNIQUE house is under threat again after another application was submitted to turn it into flats. Councillors had voted against an application for Gunnels in Fairview Road, Stevenage, back in January. But now the owners and occupants of Gunnels, Caroli

A UNIQUE house is under threat again after another application was submitted to turn it into flats.

Councillors had voted against an application for Gunnels in Fairview Road, Stevenage, back in January.

But now the owners and occupants of Gunnels, Caroline and John Garrard, have submitted another application to Stevenage Borough Council.

The new one is for the demolition of the house and erection of six two bed flats and two three bed dwellings.

The previous application was for 11 two bed flats and three one bed flats and was turned down because councillors feared it would be an overdevelopment of the site.

Mr Garrard, who works at Garrard Building and Construction in Wedgewood Way, Stevenage, refused to speak to The Comet.

Nicolas Tey, an architect working on the application, told the council: "The original scheme has been redesigned to specially address the reason for refusal."

He calls the proposal "an acceptable and appropriate form of development" which will complement Stevenage Old Town.

He said the number of proposed units have been "significantly" reduced to fall within the council's standard density range.

Residents are concerned the development would increase traffic problems in the area, would not fit in with the surrounding area and set a "dangerous precedent" for development in the Old Town.

One resident said: "Once again the house is doomed to destruction, the new build being the same size as before with a different interior. So campaigners are once again having to fight to save this important Old Town building. Why should we have to fight? Why is there no planning policy in place to protect buildings like this? The conservation area has some protection but this is only for the High Street and not surrounding roads."

Another said: "This house has a historical significance for Stevenage, even more so today when massive barrack-style ugly dwellings and cheap highrises are suffocating our Old Town."

People in Fairview Road are in the process of setting up a residents association to deal with issues such as Gunnels and the parking problems in the road.

They hope to launch a campaign to save Gunnels and expose Stevenage Borough Council's lack of preservation planning policy.

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