Green light to turn blue plaque house in Wick Lane, Christchurch, into family home
A DERELICT house in Christchurch which boasts a blue plaque is to be converted to a family home despite appeals to keep it intact.
The Victorian building in Wick Lane has a former shop alongside it and a blue plaque on its wall to mark the area being the site of a Saxon defensive ditch, writes Trevor Bevins of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
BCP councillors agreed changes and an extension to the building, including demolishing the former shop and building a 2.8-metre wall with an arched door.
One objector claimed the changes would be “gentrification at the expense of heritage”.
Sue Newman-Crane, a local historian, said: “13 Wick Lane needs renovation but not drastic alteration which would take away its positive contribution to the conservation area.
"I do not support the removal of the side shop extension, which has played an important role in the life of the town for decades, both as a dairy and as an old-fashioned sweetshop. It, too, has character.”
But Cllr Ann Stribley said that not to see work carried out could lose what she described as “a golden opportunity” to bring the unloved home back into being a useful family home.
“At the moment it’s an eyesore in the street with an overgrown hedge which means you can barely see the blue plaque and the shop is a poor additition," she said.
"It stands out because it has not been occupied and sooner or later the whole thing will fall into disrepair.”
The committee heard that apart from the new wall with an archway and door to the side of the site in front of the former shop, the majority of the changes would be to the side and rear of the building, including a two-storey extension.
A previous application in 2019 had been rejected over concerns about the loss of what was described as “a heritage asset” for the area.
Local councillor Peter Hall, who had asked for a committee decision following a recommendation to refuse from Christchurch Town Council, said he failed to see how the addition of an eight-foot wall onto the pavement would enhance the conservation area. His plea to reject the proposals was lost 8-2.
Christchurch Antiquarians had told the committee: “The current building is an important part of the street scene in and around Christchurch town centre and any planning permission should provide a safeguard to preserve the existing form and mass as perceived from the street.”
The town's history society asked for consideration to be given to further archaeological studies and the blue plaque to be reinstated once the building work was completed.