Society lights on solution

Octavia Hill House, Wisbech
Octavia Hill House, Wisbech
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Plans to install a modern street light outside the historic Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House have been doused following action by the Wisbech Society.

The suspicions of Wisbech Society member David Crouch, who is also a member of the Octavia Hill Society, were raised after a hole appeared outside the Grade II listed building on Wisbech’s South Brink recently.

A check on Cambridgeshire’s Lighting website, which highlights the council’s plans for upgrading street lighting across the county, confirmed there were plans to install a new steel lamp post, where no lamp post had been before.

It also showed plans to remove ‘for recycling’ the special lantern and bracket which is mounted on the front elevation of the building and has been there since 2007 when the Birthplace House was re-united, restored and opened.

Worried the change would ruin the street scene outside the historic building Mr Crouch enlisted the help of Councillor Simon King, Fenland’s member for Renaissance and Conservation.

A site meeting was held on Friday August 20 with representatives of the lighting contractors Balfour Beatty who agreed to redesign the lighting layout, making the new column unnecessary. They also agreed to upgrade the wall-mounted lantern to ensure it provides the prescribed lighting levels at the Somers Road junction.

Mr Crouch said: “We at Wisbech Society and Octavia Hill Society are pleased that a satisfactory solution has been achieved to protect the facade of the Birthplace House and we thank Balfour Beatty for their assistance.”