Historic Quaker House in Chatteris to be demolished for two new homes
PUBLISHED: 10:34 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 30 January 2020
A fire-savaged former Quaker House that has stood in Chatteris since 1757 will be demolished for two new houses to be built - despite an outcry from heritage bosses.
The site, in Ash Grove, last held a meeting for worship in the 1920s before being used as a furniture shop in the 1970s.
It has since stood empty after being targeted by vandals and arsonists in recent years.
Archaeology experts at Cambridgeshire County Council said that the building being torn down would result in a "total loss of heritage asset".
But councillors at Fenland District Council (FDC) felt that the "ugly" building brought little to the area; as many of the original features had been destroyed.
David Brooks, who had submitted plans to transform the plot into two three-bed homes for his family, said the area had been blighted by "drugs paraphernalia and vandalism".
The on-call firefighter, who has lived in the town for 30 years, said his plans would "rejuvenate a slice of the town".
Plans were approved at the planning committee meeting at Fenland Hall on January 29.
However, Ian Mason from Chatteris Past and Present, argued that they were pushing to make it a heritage site.
"It is not incredibly dilapidated in our opinion," he said.
"There is still a graveyard there too, which could be very detrimental.
"Heritage England are going to come to Chatteris and have a look at the buildings there and we are pushing for this to be a heritage site."
Cambridgeshire County Council and The Georgian Group also objected.
Councillor Ian Benney said: "The doors, windows and timber work are not original and for many years I have just known it as being derelict.
"Now is the time to put something fit for purpose in its place."
Councillor Peter Murphy agreed calling it "an ugly looking building in a clean street".
"I am not against heritage, but I cannot see a reason why this should not go ahead," he added.
Planners, who had recommended refusal, said that because it was not listed and not in a conservation area the build could go ahead if archaeological conditions were in place and the site accessed before demolition.