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South West Wiltshire Liberal Democrats

Little Cheverell Battle ends in defeat for conservationists

December 16, 2011 10:42 AM

The Court of Appeal has refused an application for permission to challenge a High Court decision over proposed demolition of Copsewood (The Pink Cottage) in Little Cheverell Conservation Area

Following the refusal of their application, the Copsewood Preservation Group state:

"Local Estate Agent & Development Advisor Mr Martin Walker has given us notice of his intention to destroy this part of Little Cheverell's Heritage on or after 17 December 2011. This is despite the fact that the property may be a roost to several types of protected bats. We feel this whole episode sets a terrible precedent for vernacular buildings in Eastern Wiltshire as it values profit over heritage and demonstrates the power of property interests in the planning process."

The story began in 28 May 2009 when the Eastern Area Regulatory Committee granted an application for the demolition of Copsewood cottage, an important unlisted cottage, in part dating to 1722, forming part of the Little Cheverell Conservation Area. This decision was quashed in November 2009 by the High Court as unlawful.

The planning committee reheard the application on 14 Jan 2010. At the meeting the objectors, including local residents, CPRE and a Governor of Wiltshire Historic Buildings Trust supported the recommendations of the Wiltshire Planning Officers against demolition.

However, the Eastern Area Planning Committee again overruled their officers and agreed to the demolition of Copsewood.

The objectors again challenged the decision as unlawful on the grounds that it fails to consider the Conservation Area legal safeguards and government policies. On 11 February 2011 a Judge in the High Court granted permission for judicial review of the permission indicating his view that the case was plainly arguable.

The objectors' case was that it was irrational to demolish a cottage which the planning committee has accepted makes a positive contribution to the Little Cheverell Conservation Area. They said that to replace the cottage with a new "executive style" home not in keeping with the conservation area was irrational.