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Kersey: Owner of period home faces planning battle over rising groundwater

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 January 2013

Little Manor, in Church Hill Kersey is in danger of collapsing because of water under the floor caused by a natural spring and high water table.

Little Manor, in Church Hill Kersey is in danger of collapsing because of water under the floor caused by a natural spring and high water table.

Archant

THE owners of a 15th-Century house who want to remove a brick floor to stop the property from becoming waterlogged are to have their case determined by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Little Manor in Kersey is in danger of eventual collapse because of rising groundwater underneath the floor.

The owner, Elizabeth Crosbie, applied to Babergh District Council for listed planning consent to lift a 19th-Century gault brick floor so she could install internal land drains in an attempt to direct water away from the house.

But after two years of pleading with the council for advice, she has submitted an appeal against non-determination.

A report commissioned on Babergh’s behalf suggested lifting the floor could cause “unnecessary disturbance” to the historic fabric of the building. It stated that there was not enough evidence to prove that the work would solve the water issue.

But Ms Crosbie told Babergh’s planning committee this week: “The person who wrote the report didn’t even visit the house and he made no formal recommendations as to what we can do to remedy the problem.”

Councillor Michael Bamford said the water problem underneath the house was “self-evident”, adding: “It’s ironic that we are worrying about preserving the fabric of this building when it is more at risk of decay if the owners are not allowed to do the work they need to do to try and save it.

“It is criminal to delay this application any longer.” The committee voted against the officer’s recommendation and decided the council should not defend the appeal.

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