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Nothing 'regular' about loss of historic stabling

posted Jan 30, 2017, 8:25 AM by Al Brookes

A Planning Application has been submitted for 'Regularisation for the change of use of stables to form self contained studio flat.' What this means, basically, is that the part of the old stables in question has already been converted by the developer - destroying the original historic timber fittings in the process - in spite of the fact that permission to develop this area was specifically denied. Planning consent to make this ok is now being sought in retrospect. You can see our response to this application - and add your own - on the South Downs National Park planning page. We've included the full text of our response below:

SPS response to Stable Block Planning Application SDNP/16/04263/FUL 

The Society is shocked and deeply disappointed to learn that the historically valuable stabling has been lost during the residential development of the Stable Block, despite this being specifically omitted from the original planning permission. We wish to fully support comments and statements made by Alma Howell from Historic England and Mr Bill Fairhall.

The Society finds it difficult to understand how it has been possible for works to have progressed to the level where there has there has been effectively (very effectively!) created a studio flat in an area of the stable block that was expressively to be preserved and not included in the development. We would ask why this North East range was submitted to the same damp proofing work as the residential development? It is clear from Phil Purvis' Heritage and Design statement that it had never been the intention of the developer to preserve this unique and valuable feature, which would also have left tangible context to the original use of the buildings for future generations.

Additionally, we note with further disappointment that the adjacent area originally planned as a cycle store appears to have been encompassed into a kitchen and shower room for this accommodation. We presume that this cycle store was shown on the original approved plans as some mitigation towards sustainable transport, which is now lost.

The Society requests that there is an enquiry at the highest level as to why monitoring of the development of this Grade 2* listed building was not to sufficient to halt this destruction and to fully explain how evidence of this historic stabling has been lost.

Clearly it would not be in the best public interest for this application for regularisation of change of use to be approved. Regularisation would also not discourage this or any other developer from flagrantly disregarding planning restrictions.

Although the original timber fittings of the stabling may have been lost, it is presumed that stone and metal fittings, such as door latches and feeding troughs may have been retained. Even if this is not the case, the best possible outcome would be for this area to be reinstated and restored following the photographic evidence that exists and the careful and contextual facsimile be available for public viewing.

It is evidently not in the public interest that this developer should be enabled to profit from their actions in this case and we request in the strongest possible terms that SDNPA insists on the originally approved plans, refuses this regularisation request and demands reinstatement.