Under threat

PUBLISHED: 17:23 05 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

Rose Cottage in Walsworth Road, Hitchin

Rose Cottage in Walsworth Road, Hitchin

BATTLE lines are being drawn by conservationists and community groups to try to save two of Hitchin s historic buildings. Developers want to demolish Rose Cottage in Walsworth Road. A planning application is currently with the district council to build ni

The former Sikh temple in Radcliffe Road, Hitchin

BATTLE lines are being drawn by conservationists and community groups to try to save two of Hitchin's historic buildings.

Developers want to demolish Rose Cottage in Walsworth Road. A planning application is currently with the district council to build nine three-bedroom and two two-bedroom homes on the site.

The cottage was built in the 1850s and included among its former residents Samuel Lucas and the Hawkins family.

It pre-dates the arrival of the railway and was one of the first homes to be built in Walsworth Road when it was surrounded by fields.

Also under threat is the former Sikh temple in Radcliffe Road. The building is being offered for sale for £650,000. But conservationists are angry that part of the sales literature says: "Informal discussions with the planning department at NHDC suggest they would agree either to a new use or demolition for redevelopment."

The building which the temple occupied started off life as St Saviour's School, funded and built by the Rev George Gainsford in the 1860s and 1870s.

Scilla Douglas, chairman of the Hitchin Historical Society, said: "The Gainsford family made a unique contribution to both the spiritual and charitable life of this area of Victorian Hitchin.

"The buildings they inspired should be protected. Adapt, refurbish. Don't demolish."

The Triangle Residents' Association is also against demolition of the former school.

"We want positive develop-ment here, not demolition," said an association spokesman.

"The former Victorian school is a significant part of the historic character of the area.

"This is what attracts people to Hitchin and must be preserved.

"We want the council and potential developers to know from the outset, this building is not for demolition."

Members of the Trevor Road Residents' Association are just as determined to save Rose Cottage.

"This house is the last remaining large detached Victorian family house left in Walsworth Road and forms an important part of early Victorian Hitchin," said a spokesman.

"The coach house and former greenhouses still exist as part of the property, as do the extensive pleasure gardens that run the full length of Trevor Road."

A Hitchin Forum spokesman said: "Neither of these buildings has the status and protection of listing, but both are an important part of the town's social and architectural heritage.

"We want prospective developers to know demolition is totally unacceptable to the community and will be resisted outright."

A spokesman for the council said: "The buildings are not in a conservation area or listed so there is nothing at the moment to stop them being knocked down once planning consent has been given.


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