Plans submitted to Fenland Council could see a Wisbech eye-sore building on the High Street demolished
Plans for a five-storey mixed use development including retail on the ground-floor and 15 residential flats above will see a town centre eye-sore demolished.
Whitfield Property Investments Ltd have applied to demolish 11-12 High Street,Wisbech, despite the fact the buildings are currently Grade II listed and part of the town’s conservation area.
However, a heritage statement drawn up by Wilby & Burnett in support of the proposals, outlines just why the buildings, which are currently in a dilapidated state should be knocked down and replaced.
The applicant says it will cost around £125,000 extra and be too dangerous to rebuild the current façade compared to complete demolition.
The heritage statement says : “Demolition of most or all of the remaining fabric of 11-12 High Street would have a negative impact on the structures as it would result in their complete removal. However, little original, historic fabric survives, so the magnitude of this impact would be low.”
On the application form the applicant states: “Number 11 High Street is described in Historic England’s listing as dating from ‘early C18’ and number 12 High Street as ‘late C18 or early C19’. They were listed in 1976 and since then have fallen into a state of dereliction. Most of the internal structure has been removed which includes all the floors and roofs.
“The front façades remain, albeit in a state of severe dilapidation, up to the window sills of the third floors, and these façades are braced internally with structural steel bracing to restrain them.
“It has been concluded by a structural engineer that what remains of the building is structurally unstable. A quantity surveyor was appointed to assess the cost difference of developing the site by retaining the façade versus demolishing the site entirely prior to developing, and the additional cost to retain was in the order of £125,000 more, making it uneconomical.
“A member of the Association of Project Safety has assessed the health and safety implications of developing the site whilst maintaining the façade, and the risks associated with this, along with the disruption to pedestrians and vehicular traffic along High Street which was concluded would be significant.”
The heritage statement says: “The proposal for the re-development of 11 - 12 High Street is for demolition of all of the existing building structure and the erection in its place of a multi-storey building of residential and office use with commercial premises on the ground floor in a like-for-like architectural design so as to retain the aesthetic character and retail usage of the high street.
“The design has re-instated the original upper storey level of the buildings to align with the existing roof line of adjacent and nearby buildings in the High Street. The development consisting of residential flats and offices within the structure has added an upper storey to the buildings, although this has been designed to be stepped back from the High Street frontage and down to the rear of the frontage and surrounding roof lines so as not to impinge on the aspect of the frontage from the High Street.
“Other considerations in the design include a single rainwater down-pipe in the division of the two frontages to retain the impression of two separate buildings, the replication of the brick bands dividing floor levels and the installation of wooden sash windows in the frontage in the locations of the window positions when the building was listed.
“With the consideration of the heritage requirements the architects Wilby and Burnett, on behalf of current developer, have produced a design for re-development that has found acceptance with the Fenland District Council's conservation officer by retaining the essential character of the buildings within the aspect of the conservation area as a whole and of the High Street in particular. This was specifically requested by the conservation officer so as not to impact adversely on the conservation area and any other listed building in the vicinity.”