Historic church “has no particularly outstanding features” says planning application

PUBLISHED: 17:50 03 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 09 January 2014

St Mary's Church, Westry. Picture: Steve Williams.

St Mary's Church, Westry. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

A historic church rebuilt after a fire nearly four years ago has been called a building with “no particularly outstanding features” by a couple who want to build four executive homes next door.

The statement forms part of a heritage document submitted to Fenland District Council’s planning team as among reasons why their four home scheme should be given the go ahead on land next to St Mary’s Church at Westry.

St Mary’s Church was burnt to the ground in March 2010 and since then has had hundreds of thousands spent and hours by church restoration specialists to bring the 19th century building back to its former glory.

Now, a couple want to develop land currently being used as a lawn and paddock next door to the church.

Planners say the church is of significance, however, and in a report into the application by Mr and Mrs Schofield they say the Grade II listed building is “well detailed, constructed of good quality materials and sits well on its site.”

The report adds that it is “a good example of modest Victorian church architecture” with good views of the church and associated trees travelling in either direction.

The couple are seeking permission to build two three-storey homes with seven bedrooms and two two-storey homes with four bedrooms on land south of Westry Hall in Wisbech Road, March, which is currently being used as a paddock and lawn.

However, planners look set to refuse the idea saying it is contrary to planning guidelines.

They say the homes would be in such a prominent location that they would look out of character with the rest of the area.

The homes would also ruin the views of the church and affect the setting, according to a report.

In addition, the access road would disturb tree roots which have tree preservation orders on them.

The matter is being recommended for refusal but is yet to be discussed at a meeting of Fenland District council planning committee.

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