Dismay after 350-year-old Stevenage cottage is knocked down
- Credit: Picture: NICK JOHNS
A 350-year-old cottage has been demolished, despite fierce objections from people desperate to protect it.
The Cottage in Stevenage’s Fishers Green was the much-loved home of Melanie Crawford-Trotman’s mother for 45 years, but was sold to Craig Scudder in February last year.
His application to tear the building down to make way for four new houses received 170 formal objections and was rejected by Stevenage Borough Council on the grounds that the benefit of the new development would not compensate for the loss of the historic property.
But the borough council was forced to grant his subsequent application solely to demolish the cottage.
The property was not a listed building, and constraints in planning law meant the council could only consider the method of demolition in making its decision – despite Mr Scudder citing plans to redevelop the site at a later date.
Melanie said: “The whole family and neighbours who fought so hard to save the cottage are devastated that such a lovely and loved home could be razed to the ground, and that a piece of unique history has now gone forever.
“We were told the buyer would do up the property, live in it for a time and then sell on. We would never have sold to Mr Scudder if we had known his real intention.
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“The only way of dealing with it is knowing that my mum, the person who made it home, is no longer there – and that we have 45 years worth of happy memories to hold on to.”
Mr Scudder said: “The cottage was advertised as a development opportunity. The family could have put a covenant on the property to protect it, but didn’t.
“The price I paid for the cottage and land as a development opportunity was more than they would have achieved if it had a covenant with it.
“Historic England spent days at the property and said it wasn’t of historic significance and wasn’t worth listing.”
Mr Scudder says he has appealed the borough council’s decision to refuse permission for the build, and will alter his plans if necessary.
He said: “The area needs new houses. My initial plan was to keep the cottage, but it was impossible to turn it into something suitable for modern living.
“I’m not an ogre. I will put a nice development there and it won’t be a blot on the landscape.”