Suffolk: Preservation society brands plans for Barrow ‘cultural vandalism’
A PRESERVATION society has claimed that an application to demolish a group of 19th Century buildings and replace them with dozens of homes represents “cultural vandalism.”
East Anglian based developers, Hopkins Homes, has submitted proposals to St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners for 40 dwellings, including 11 affordable homes in The Green, Barrow, Bury St Edmunds.
But Simon Cairns, director of Suffolk Preservation Society, said the group wanted to raise “strong objections” to the demolition of cottages, a village store and timber-framed barn, which they claimed were “in a reasonable state of repair.”
He added: “In the words of William Morris, ‘it is no small sin to destroy something old’. In this case the unjustified total loss of a group of significant heritage assets represents unsustainable development since it would serve to impoverish the heritage in Barrow.”
Mr Cairns, who urged the council to refuse consent for the scheme, said: “We find this application serves to eradicate the spirit of place at the heart of Barrow and represents cultural vandalism.”
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Robert Eburne, a planning manager of Hopkins Homes, said the company had carried out an independent historical assessment which was “above-and-beyond” what was required, considering that the properties are not listed and not in a conservation zone.
“We are being diligent. It is an attractive location and we want to improve it. We want to redevelop with an attractive development, The properties affected are not historic in planning terms.”
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Mr Eburne also denied claims made by the preservation society that reuse of the buildings was “both practically feasible and viable.”
“If the building was in a conservation area or was listed then of course we would be looking to conserve and preserve the buildings - we would put them to use. But there are factors about the state of the building that only we can know because the keys are in my jacket pocket.”
He added: “It is a bit of shame that the society cannot take the qualified report and accept its findings.”
Mr Eburne said that Hopkins was a “champion of good design” with more people inquiring about the availability of affordable homes than objecting.
The company also said that a bread-oven from the bakery will be cleaned, restored and donated to the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket if their application, which is due to be considered, is successful.