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Historic High Street cottages saved from demolition

Thursday, 7th November 2013.

Haverhill Town Council has today expressed its delight that two early 18th century cottages in High Street have been saved from demolition.

The two cottages at the junction with Duddery Road had been earmarked for demolition under a planning application submitted by the owners, Havebury Housing Partnership.

Havebury had planned to replace them with six one-bedroom flats, but following intervention by the town council, supported by objections from other local councillors and members of the public, St Edmundsbury Borough Council's development control committee today refused the application to demolish.

Town clerk Will Austin said: "These cottages are some 200 years old and we believe they are the oldest buildings in Haverhill High Street.

"Although not listed buildings they are an important part of the town's heritage. The construction materials and techniques used are unusual, and as residences they are of historical importance.

"Prior to the building of the Gurteen factory they once housed the makers of drabbet smocks and straw hats, and so are a fine example of how manufacturing was carried out before industrialisation.

"Given that they are also within a conservation area, it is no surprise that many people felt strongly that they should be retained.

"The town council was determined to support this view, and is pleased that the borough council has listened to us. It is a victory for Haverhill’s heritage, and a strong message to developers that they must be sensitive to that heritage."

Will Austin set out the town council's objections to the demolition proposals at the borough council's development control committee meeting today.

County and borough councillors also lined up to argue for keeping the cottages, and the committee voted 7-5 in favour of refusing demolition.

Will thanked all those who had been involved. He said: "I'd like to give a special mention to local resident Jason Crooks, whose extensive historical research gave such a strong foundation to our argument."

The planning application could now be the subject of an appeal by the applicant, but Will urged a less adversarial approach.

"The Town Council supports Havebury in its efforts to bring much-needed affordable housing to Haverhill, and we don't want our defence of the town’s heritage to be seen as in any way undermining that support.

"I will be arranging to meet with Havebury representatives to discuss how we might achieve the best balance of meeting their business aims, delivering affordable housing, and preserving the town's heritage. I very much hope we can find a way forward that doesn't involve a planning appeal."

The town council's planning committee, whose objection formed the basis of today's successful challenge, meets every three weeks to agree comments on planning applications as a statutory consultee.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings, at which they can have their say before the comments are agreed. Details of forthcoming meetings can be found at www.haverhill-tc.gov.uk or by contacting the Town Council on 01440 712858.

Haverhill Online News

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