Conservation society steps in to get lighting changed outside Octavia Hill Birthplace House

Octavia Hill Birthplace House: Wisbech Society argued the new lighting column would ruin “the street

Octavia Hill Birthplace House: Wisbech Society argued the new lighting column would ruin “the street scene of the Grade II listed building”.PHOTO: David Crouch - Credit: Archant

IT is taking five years, will cost £100m, and the plan is to replace four fifths of Cambridgeshire’s street lights – but in Wisbech one has been spared.

IT is taking five years, will cost £100m, and the plan is to replace four fifths of Cambridgeshire’s street lights – but in Wisbech one has been spared.

That’s the lantern outside Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House on South Brink where conservationists were horrified to learn of a new modern steel lamp post being erected.

Worse still, argued the Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust, they discovered the special lantern and bracket put up in 2007 when the museum was modernised would go for recycling.

Now the lantern has been spared after talks between the county council, their main contractors Balfour Beatty, and Fenland Council’s portfolio holder for conservation Councillor Simon King.


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David Crouch, Wisbech Society trustee and Octavia Hill Society member, said: “We are pleased that a satisfactory outcome has been achieved to protect the façade of the Birthplace House. We thank Balfour Beatty for their assistance.

He argued the new lighting column would ruin “the street scene of the Grade II listed building”.

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Paul Eden, press spokesman for the Wisbech Society, said a site meeting had led to the contractors agreeing to redesign the lighting layout so that a new column was unnecessary.

“The existing wall mounted lantern, we found, could be upgraded to provide the lighting levels required at the junction with Somers Road.”

He said Balfour Beatty agreed to make arrangements to remove the “offending column” and to implement the revisions.

Cambridgeshire County Council won Government funding two years to begin the project to install 37,600 new lighting columns across the county as well as improved lighting for traffic signs and bollards. The new lighting is expected to be more cost efficient, reduce road accidents and reduce the fear of crime.

The Octavia Hill Birthplace Museum commemorates the 19th century social reformer Octavia Hill, who also co founded the National Trust.

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