Pinefield – 40 High Street, Much Wenlock

I last wrote about this property in March of this year when a planning application and a listed building application had been submitted simultaneously. The planning application is described as “Erection of one dwelling with garage; repair to outbuilding; erection of one pair of semi-detached dwellings with attached 3-bay garage” – so, three dwellings proposed on the back land.

The listed building application, dealing with an important Regency building within the Much Wenlock conservation area, is entitled “Repair and renewal of roof coverings, rainwater goods, rendering, doors and windows; internal alterations”. This was granted by planning officers under delegated powers, on 23rd August.

Pinefield, 40 High Street Much Wenlock – August 2017

In detail, the proposed works include include “the replacement, like for like, of the broken and defective front and rear bowed windows and side elevation bay; new glazed timber internal doors to match existing between the living room and garden room; new main staircase to match existing; lower section of secondary stair to be replicated; subdivision of a room to create a cloak room and wash room; unblocking of two small windows on the rear elevation; unblocking a recess and the sealing of a door on the side elevation of the rear wing. A small lean-to structure at the rear of the building would be removed. At first floor level the front windows would be removed; some new partitions installed to create an ensuite bathroom and ensuite shower room, and a doorway sealed to create an independent bathroom. Defective first floor areas would be renewed on a like for like basis. The roof would be the subject of extensive works to renew and repair defective elements on a like for like basis (Clay tiles and lead flashings etc).”

The Conservation Officer has advised the proposed repair works outlined in the application are considered to be appropriate and necessary to bring this important listed building back into habitable residential accommodation and secure it for future generations.

Concerns have been expressed, including by the Town Council and Much Wenlock Civic Society, that there should be some formal link between any benefit to be derived from the planning application for the back land and the cost of carrying out the works on the host property. This I fully support, and I am encouraged to see that the planning officer says that “the ‘enabling development’ and a tie in to planning application 17/00998/FUL, are matters for consideration in the assessment of that planning application. They are not grounds to delay the consideration of this listed building application which relates solely to works to the listed building itself….”

Where do we go from here? Whilst the planning application has yet to be decided – and I have requested that this be dealt with by Shropshire Council’s South Planning Committee – there is no reason in principle why the refurbishment works to Pinefield cannot be commenced immediately. The Section 215 notice has run its course, so Shropshire Council is presumably in a position to flex its muscles to ensure that the work gets underway. Realistically, the listed building  and Section 215 works will cost a lot of money. I recognise that the applicants will want some assurance that their planning application for three dwellings will be approved. For this reason I am pressing the planning officers to bring this to the Planning Committee soon.

Shropshire Council, encouraged by me and supported by many residents, has made more progress on this iconic property in the past eighteen months than had been made in the past eighteen years. We don’t want to lose momentum now.