Warning over district's old buildings
A HERITAGE watchdog has launched an attack on planning chiefs in Waveney, claiming some of the district's heritage has been lost forever. Dr Mike Coleman, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, has criticised decisions to allow two buildings in Lowestoft to be demolished and has voiced fears about the future of other buildings in the district.
A HERITAGE watchdog has launched an attack on planning chiefs in Waveney, claiming some of the district's heritage has been lost forever.
Dr Mike Coleman, chairman of the Suffolk Preservation Society, has criticised decisions to allow two buildings in Lowestoft to be demolished and has voiced fears about the future of other buildings in the district.
He pointed to the demise of the former planning offices in Rectory Road and the former St Matthew's Church, known more recently as Colville Hall, in Clifton Road, as examples of the authority's failure to recognise the town's heritage.
Dr Coleman then went on to claim that Halesworth's Rifle Hall and Lowestoft's Town Hall could be under threat.
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He said: “In Lowestoft we are not blessed with many notable buildings, so the loss of any of the more attractive buildings is a tragedy.”
The former planning offices were knocked down after planning permission was won to convert the whole site into flats.
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“The tragedy here is that we have lost yet another bit of Lowestoft's history and one of the slightly more interesting pieces of architecture and will see it replaced with a bland modern design,” said Dr Coleman.
On the demolition of Colville Hall, he said: “In March 2001 we wrote to the then conservation officer at Waveney stating that the building 'shone out like a beacon' and urged that it be restored properly but to no avail.
“I now see that in the last few weeks this building has been wiped off the face of the earth so another better part of Lowestoft's heritage is lost for ever.
“Seeing the loss of these buildings, I fear for the future of other buildings in Waveney's care across the district.”
Dr Coleman said he feared for the future of the Rifle Hall in Halesworth and the Town Hall in Lowestoft High Street.
Ken Sale, portfolio holder for the built environment, said careful consideration was given to the Rectory Road site and permission was not needed to knock down Colville Hall because it was not listed.
He said: “As with all applications, the council will always seek to strike the right balance between heritage and what best serves the needs of the district and its residents.”
Mr Sale said fears about the Town Hall and the Halesworth Rifle Hall were “wide of the mark” as the Town Hall building is listed and falls within a conservation area as does the Rifle Hall. The Rifle Hall has also been identified as a locally listed building.