Agenda item

Dereham: Alterations/Conversion of the Guildhall to Form Four Dwellings: Applicant Mr P Green: References: 3PL/2004/1316/F & 3PL/2004/1317/LB (Agenda item 10)

Report of the Development Services Manager.


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) presented the report which concerned proposals to convert the Guildhall in Dereham into four dwellings.  It had been recommended that planning permission be refused and that enforcement action be authorised.


These applications had previously been considered by the Development Control Committee on 27 September 2004, where it had been resolved to grant permission subject to the receipt of a satisfactory schedule of works, providing full details and specifications of the proposed building works/alterations. 


Members were informed that since the publication of the Agenda, the schedule of works had recently been submitted; however, it had been found to be unsatisfactory and was a good deal short of what was required.  Further to this, the schedule of works had not dealt with the damage caused by the vandalism to the building.


Given the length of time that this application had continued, the Committee was asked to consider whether the application should be deferred before a final decision was made.  This would allow a further period of time of 4 to 6 weeks for the applicant to provide a satisfactory schedule of works, or alternatively, to refuse it if the said schedule was not received during that time.


As far as the enforcement issue was concerned, significant alterations were being carried out which were unauthorised but were continuing.  The applicant had been strongly advised to stop the work, but as yet had not done so.  The works being carried out could cause irretrievable damage if allowed to continue.  The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) felt that some form of injunction should be issued for the works to cease immediately, and/or prosecution should be sought for the illegal works being carried out to a Grade II Listed Building.


A Member felt that there should be no further delay and that the Officers should be given the authority to take any steps that were felt necessary.


A Ward Member for Dereham urged the Officers’ to issue a stop notice and to secure the whole ground floor of the building.


The Historic Buildings Officer advised that the Council was keen to keep the building secure.  In the last three years, the building had been allowed to fall into disrepair and had been a continual target for vandalism; however,  following continual dialogue with the police and fire brigade, the Council had boarded the building up to prevent further damage and the risk of fire. He stressed that the nature of current works being carried out to the building had not been agreed.


The Chairman also raised concern about the damage being done to the existing garden wall alongside St Withburga Lane.  The damage had been caused by a dip in the road which constantly filled up with water when it rained and was being splashed up the wall by vehicles using St Withburga Lane.  The Committee agreed that the Highway Authority should be asked to repair the road to stop further damage to the wall which had been listed in its own right.


            RESOLVED that


a)                  the 2004 planning and listed building applications be refused on the grounds that, in the absence of a satisfactory schedule of works, it had not been demonstrated that the proposed conversions would properly conserve the character and appearance of the listed building; and


b)                  enforcement action be authorised to require all unauthorised works to cease and that the enforcement action could take the form of the service of enforcement and stop notices prosecution for breach of listed building control and/or an application for an injunction.


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