The probation services former offices in Wisbech are the subject of a planning application which could see them transformed back to a home.
A design, access and heritage statement produced by Brand Associates in support of Aldo Ierubino’s application to convert the offices, at Castle Lodge, Museum Square, says the aim is to create a five-bedroom home with a library/study, living room, kitchen/dining room and utility room.
It explains the Grade II listed building was built around 1860 using some of the material from the original town castle, which was built in 1656 and demolished in 1816 by Joseph Medworth.
The building is currently four storey offices with a semi-basement, two main floors and attic rooms and the statement prepared by Edward Brand explains: “The building structure is in good condition and suitable for the proposed work. They will not have any significant effect on the structure.
“Most of the alterations to the building, to convert it into offices, are reversible studwork and suspended ceilings. It appears from the small areas visible that original features, such as cornices have generally been retained.”
It adds the proposals will see “minimal alterations to the existing building, the aim being to only make changes necessary for a comfortable family house and/or to remove reversible inappropriate works carried out to convert the former house into offices.”
The proposals include the demolition of a modern brick shed of “no architectural or historic value” and the formation of a new access and parking area.
Mr Brand writes: “It is considered that to make the conversion back to a large family house financially viable, on-site parking is essential. Also, the removal of the shed makes a better garden area for a large house.
“New metal rails and gate are proposed for the front facing Museum Square. These will be similar to the railings on the Museum opposite and on a nearby building. A small section of curved brick wall is to be removed to improve the appearance of the wall and make it in keeping with the other railings in the area. This, plus planting in pots, will enhance the area.”
Modern walls, partitions and stairs balustrades int he entrance hall, stairs and landings will be removed returning these areas to their original arrangement.
A former light-well and coalshoot into the basement at the front of the property will be opened up together with rear light-wells and a blocked up window which will let natural light in and improve ventilation in the basement - which is currently so damp it has to have a dehumidifier running constantly.
The statement adds that when original features are uncovered during the conversion Fenland District Council’s conservation officer will be consulted to ensure work is carried correctly.
Mr Brand concludes: “These proposals will restore this fine and important building back to its former use by making a high quality, large home that meets today’s expectations.”