Bid to demolish and rebuild part 17th century home set to be rejected

The Old Rectory is in the village of Whatfield. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The Old Rectory is in the village of Whatfield. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Gregg Brown

A plan to demolish parts of a historic home believed to date back more than 300 years and build new extensions in their place looks set to be refused.

Even though the owners of The Old Rectory in Whatfield, near Ipswich, said the changes are needed to "secure its future", Babergh District Council officers believe they will damage the character of the Grade II Listed Building.

The 17th century site's latest owners, whose extended family bought the Grade II Listed Building in 1970, say they are "faced with a period building in need of extensive refurbishment" and "have undertaken a programme of urgent ongoing fabric repairs, to secure the immediate integrity of the property".

A design and access statement prepared by Embrace Architecture for a planning application said: "Having successfully negotiated the most pressing repairs, the applicants are now focussing on the longer term needs and how best to address the shortcomings of the property as a family home."

The plan is to demolish a former garage and store area of the 17th century building, which is said to be in a "poor state of repair".

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In its place, single-storey and two-storey extensions would be built for a kitchen and dining area, seating area and laundry room, as well as a master bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

"The suggested changes have been very carefully considered to ensure they are entirely sympathetic to the whole dwelling," the design and access statement said.

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"The aim is to both make it into a sustainable family home and secure its future."

But Babergh District Council officers have recommended that the application be refused at Wednesday, June 19's planning committee meeting, saying in a report that the changes "are considered to be detrimental to the character, appearance and setting of the Grade II designated heritage asset".

The report adds: "The harm which would result to the listed building significantly outweighs any public benefits that may be afforded to the proposal and there is not clear or convincing justification for this harm, which should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances."

The design and access statement added: "The applicants have strong emotional and cherished family ties with the property and it is paramount that the new extension should respectfully complement its host.

"It has become apparent to the applicant that the property has a number of significant shortcomings and challenges to face to create a home capable of accommodating modern family life.

"However the proposals offer the opportunity to revitalise this listed building."

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