When is a house not abandoned? When its chimney pots are intact says architects seeking planning consent

CLAIMS that this house has not been abandoned and still looks like a home because its chimney pots are still intact have failed to convince planning chiefs.

It means that plans to replace the structure with a four-bedroom home in the countryside are set to be refused by Fenland District Council’s planning committee next Wednesday.

Architects Peter Humphrey Associates say the application for Yorkes Farm, Block Fen Drove, Wimblington, is acceptable in-line with council policy H18.

It states that replacement houses in the countryside may be acceptable if “the original has not been abandoned or allowed to fall into a state of dereliction or disrepair that it no longer has the appearance of a dwelling”.

Nigel Lowe, of Peter Humphrey Associates, said: “We would suggest that the replacement cottage very much still resembles a dwelling.”

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Their statement is accompanied with a photograph showing the cottage with windows and chimney pots still intact.

But planning officers disagree - and a report to councillors says they “have consistently rejected attempts to develop this land since at least 2000 and there are no material changes that have occurred on the land or in policy terms to now support this application”.

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Councillors will be told that a similar application was refused by the committee in April 2000.

At the time officers said: “The fundamental issue is whether or not the residential use has been abandoned. In this instance the building standing on site has no roof, the lower windows have been bricked up and the majority of the inside has been gutted.

“Large barn type doors in the rear would indicate a storage/agricultural use rather than a residential use. There is no defined curtilage to the building.

“All these factors point to the residential use of the site long being abandoned.”

A lawful Development Certificate was also refused in 2002 because the building did not have a roof, had no internal floors or ceilings and no attempt had been made to preserve it in a stable condition.

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