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Sha

Save our Heritage. BEWSEY OLD HALL!

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Bewsey Old Hall is a grade 11* listed building, the farmhouse part is grade 11 and the site has scheduled ancient monument status.

Only 4% of listed buildings are grade 11* so the old hall is not only of great local but also of national importance.

 

The planning application made by Urban Splash together with various items of correspondence are on WBC's website. If you read these you may well wonder as I do how on earth this application got so far!

I personally think that both Urban Splash and the council officers who recomended this application for approval must be pretty embarassed that it has come to be scrutinised by a Government Inspector.

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Never knew it was a Grade II* staus and to hear that Bewsey Old Hall is one of only 4% having the * status must give it more clout for obtaining special funding to preserve and retain it for future generations.

 

You are doing better than me though if you have actually managed to read all the planning documents on the Council's web site. I tried just out of interest over the weekend and some of the main ones will no longer open ! Grrrrr !

 

It's just a pitty that the council jumped ship and handed the Hall over to English P's years ago. I guess at the time it's future was beyond WBC's capabilities and funding methods. Maybe they thought they were doing the right thing and that EP were the best people to protect and preserve such an important piece of heritage.

 

Sadly times have now changed and even EP seem to have been drawn into the ever spiraling web of profit via any new form of housing developents... whatever the TRUE cost :evil:

 

Maybe there is a loophole in the old deeds or a covenant somewhere which say they can't do it so EP will gladly hand it back to WBC who can then in turn apply for all the available funding that is available for local heritage projects 8):D:D:D

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Guest tonymailman

Grade II * listed and if I remember rightly also the grounds are ancient monument status, we tried everything possible to save the place, point of fact it shouldn't even BE a choice of what happens to the hall !! any othe town/city in Britain would be doing something to keep and save a building of this importance ....... what IS Warrington's seemingly adverse attitude towards its heritage ??

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Sha, I received the email that you sent to WBC to be forwarded to all WBC Councillors. :wink:

 

That must be your strangest post yet Paul! ??? :?:?:?

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I'm gobsmacked :shock:

 

A Lib Dem councillor and a Labour councillor working together on the same side :shock:

 

Where were ALL the other council members though, are they not interested at all :?

 

Would have thought that round two of a public enquiry over such a significant building and it's future would have brought a few more of them out of their webs :?:roll: Mmmmm :roll:

 

Just like bats some of them prefer to hide away quitely in shadowy corners :lol::wink:

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Party politics shouldn't have any bearing on an issue such as this!

 

There is mass support for Bewsey Old Hall to be restored, with full public access. People from all over Warrington (and beyond) and from all walks of life are concerned with saving our heritage and have united in their efforts to do so.

Wouldn't it just be expected that our councillors should be doing the same?

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I can understand why you would think party politics might come into play Diz as it tends to quite frequently and quite inappropriately with regards to issues which would be better served by unity of our councillors.

 

All councillors of all wards regardless of political persuasion should really be making an effort to save Bewsey Hall, it is such an important part of the town's heritage.

It is good to see that some of our councillor's are already working together and they should be commended for this.

 

The result of the Govt Inquiry is due around the second week in Nov.

By that time let us hope the rest of the councillors have united to push the project forward.

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Bewsey Old Hall is a grade 11* listed building, the farmhouse part is grade 11 and the site has scheduled ancient monument status.

Only 4% of listed buildings are grade 11* so the old hall is not only of great local but also of national importance.

 

The planning application made by Urban Splash together with various items of correspondence are on WBC's website. If you read these you may well wonder as I do how on earth this application got so far!

I personally think that both Urban Splash and the council officers who recomended this application for approval must be pretty embarassed that it has come to be scrutinised by a Government Inspector.

 

5.5% now for what it's worth. And English Heritage is reluctant to fund repairs to a Grade II* listed building if (for instance) a reputable company offers to convert it to a commercial alternative use if that use is not too intrusive. So far as I can see (not a betting man), the Urban Splash proposal ticks most of the boxes in the Planning Guidance on Listed Buildings when, despite heroic efforts, no-one is offering the funds that would allow retention for community use or guarantee (there's cuts coming) that such a use would be sustainable in the long-term, so I'd expect the Inspector to allow the appeal.

 

Don't forget the Council's plans committee turned it down against the officers' recommendation. So the officers will not be embarrassed that it went to appeal when they recommended approval; the officers' difficulty comes in having to argue at appeal against their own earlier recommendation, but they are professionals and have to do that quite often. Urban Splash aren't embarrassed; they have a good record in coming up with rescue plans for unwanted listed buildings and it's hardly a frivolous appeal.

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Vic,

The % of grade 11* listed buildings fluctuates between 4% to 6% depending on which websites you choose to view, as buildings are destroyed or others added to the list the exact number will obviously fluctuate. Whatever, the point remains the same, grade 11* listed buildings are rare and of especial interest / importance.

 

English Heritage's funds are obviously limited and thus they do not object to 'commercial alternatives' which would in effect 'save' a building if it is ensured that certain criteria to preserve the historic value of the particular building are met.

In the case of Bewsey Old Hall English Heritage would not have any objection in principal to the proposal by Urban Splash in the same way that they would not have any objection to other proposals such as restoring the hall for a heritage centre (providing the historic value were preserved and protected)

 

As Urban Splash are relying on profits made from building and selling 48 apartments to fund the conversion of the hall then the application must be viewed with regard to enabling development policies.

After viewing the application, with regard to these policies, I cannot see how the application can possibly be passed.

 

It was also after viewing this application that I came to the opinion that both Urban Splash and the council's planning officers would be embarrassed that a Govt Inspector would view these plans.

I did not think these plans appeared to be compiled in a particularly professional way.

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Vic,

The % of grade 11* listed buildings fluctuates between 4% to 6% depending on which websites you choose to view, as buildings are destroyed or others added to the list the exact number will obviously fluctuate. Whatever, the point remains the same, grade 11* listed buildings are rare and of especial interest / importance.

 

English Heritage's funds are obviously limited and thus they do not object to 'commercial alternatives' which would in effect 'save' a building if it is ensured that certain criteria to preserve the historic value of the particular building are met.

In the case of Bewsey Old Hall English Heritage would not have any objection in principal to the proposal by Urban Splash in the same way that they would not have any objection to other proposals such as restoring the hall for a heritage centre (providing the historic value were preserved and protected)

 

As Urban Splash are relying on profits made from building and selling 48 apartments to fund the conversion of the hall then the application must be viewed with regard to enabling development policies.

Now I wish I was a betting man....

 

Given that planning inspectors are influenced by English Heritage's policy statement on enabling development, and that EH are not objecting, there must be a tacit assumption that EH feel it meets their own criteria. True, a heritage centre would be a better use but is it viable?

 

The EH criteria for enabling development (i.e. a commercial development that includes and makes possible restoration of a listed building) (without all of which there is a presumption against the proposal):

 

The enabling development will not materially detract from the archaeological, architectural, historic, landscape or biodiversity interest of the asset, or materially harm its setting

?

The proposal avoids detrimental fragmentation of management of the heritage asset

?

The enabling development will secure the long term future of the heritage asset, and where applicable, its continued use for a sympathetic purpose

?

The problem arises from the inherent needs of the heritage asset, rather than the circumstances of the present owner or the purchase price paid

?

Sufficient financial assistance is not available from any other source

?

It is demonstrated that the amount of enabling development is the minimum necessary to secure the future of the heritage asset, and that its form minimises disbenefits

?

The value or benefit of the survival or enhancement of the heritage asset outweighs the long-term cost to the community (ie the disbenefits) of providing the enabling development

 

If all those apply, then planning consent should be granted if:

 

?

The impact of the development is precisely defined at the outset, normally through the granting of full rather than outline planning permission;

?

The achievement of the heritage objective is securely and enforceably linked to it, bearing in mind the guidance in DOE Circular 01/97,

?

The heritage asset is repaired to an agreed standard, or the funds to do so made available, as early as possible in the course of the enabling development, ideally at the outset and certainly before completion or occupation;

?

The planning authority closely monitors implementation, if necessary acting promptly to ensure a satisfactory outcome.

 

 

As EH are not objecting, presumably they do not think there should be a presumption against approval....

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"Tens of thousands of listed buildings and large swathes of the countryside could be destroyed after two key planks of the 60-year-old planning system were quietly dismantled by ministers."

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/6475826/Listed-buildings-and-scenic-spots-face-destruction-after-planning-rule-changes.html

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Here's someone attacking the new framework because he fears it will be more stringent....

 

http://www.bdonline.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3146851

 

and the RTPI response is critical but not quite the shock-horror version in the Telegraph:

 

The Royal Town Planning Institute has responded to the Government?s consultation on ?Improving Permitted Development?, which aims to simplify the planning process for smaller scale applications. In its response, the Institute has warned that whilst it supports the aim of the reforms, the current proposals are complicated and imprecise, and may indeed lead to more uncertainty and confusion rather than less.

 

 

Which is why there is consultation....

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Vic..... the use of the word CONSULTATION is merely there as a 'tick box' category to say that the 'powers that be' have allowed outside opinions/views to be aired on a particular subject or issue..... it DOES NOT in turn mean that the opinions/views will make any difference to the decision, especially where those consulted are against a proposal.

 

More often than not the final decision has already been made before the consultation process and it is just a formality :roll:

 

....so in short CONSULATATION means absolutely NOTHING !!

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.. by the way I believe Urban Splash have WON and Bewsey Old Hall IS to become flats after all :evil: Or maybe I just had a Halloween nightmare :roll:

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Well there's a suprise :evil::roll:

 

It really p's me off that despite being REFUSED permission by the council an applicant can just appeal against the decision and some dim witted inspector who does't even live round here can just say 'OK' then !!

 

Why bother applying going through the local council's planning procedure in the first place... might aswell cut costs and go straight to the government inspector for the decision :roll::evil:

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Vic..... the use of the word CONSULTATION is merely there as a 'tick box' category to say that the 'powers that be' have allowed outside opinions/views to be aired on a particular subject or issue..... it DOES NOT in turn mean that the opinions/views will make any difference to the decision, especially where those consulted are against a proposal.

 

More often than not the final decision has already been made before the consultation process and it is just a formality :roll:

 

....so in short CONSULTATION means absolutely NOTHING !!

So go on then, give evidence of a government planning consultation where the RTPI was critical and the DCLG didn't listen.

The DCLG consulted this year on extending planning consents (which they were going to limit to major development) and after responses (including mine) they will now apply it to all developments.

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Why bother applying going through the local council's planning procedure in the first place... might as well cut costs and go straight to the government inspector for the decision

Local councillors get voted in, so listen to public opinion (or their fellow councillors who see a bandwagon and jump on) more than they should, instead of following planning guidance. Elected local councillors do come cheap, and inspectors are expensive. But the planning system is not about counting those for and those against (especially those who are happy to advocate that other people should spend money); it's about applying planning law (which has been made by democratically-elected governments). Applicants refused planning permission have a right of appeal - what's wrong with that? And in this case, the Urban Splash development - in the absence of viable alternatives - fits the guidance (and if the committee had gone with the guidance, we wouldn't have needed the inquiry....)

 

(There perhaps should be a right of appeal against the granting of planning consent, but there's no sign of that.)

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[The DCLG consulted this year on extending planning consents (which they were going to limit to major development) and after responses (including mine) they will now apply it to all developments.

 

So WHO did they actually consult then... was it an open consultation or just selective :roll:

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