Councillors praise listed building work condemned by English Heritage

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PRAISE has been lavished on building work which, in the eyes of English Heritage, caused “unjustified and demonstrable substantial harm” to a Grade II* listed building.

Mr Sowerby, owner of Caythorpe Hall in Caythorpe, carried out work to the listed building, including adding a kitchen conservatory extension and a coach house conservatory extension, without planning permission.

At a meeting of South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee on Tuesday, Mr Sowerby sought retrospective planning permission for the work on Caythorpe Hall, a building English Heritage describes as having “outstanding architectural or historic interest”.

Mr Sowerby began by apologising to the committee for carrying out work without planning permission.

He added: “I’m the first to admit that my enthusiasm got the better of me.”

After stating his case, councillors queued up to heap praise on the “high quality work” which has gone into restoring the once dilapidated building.

Coun Reg Howard said: “If I was to accept refusal of this it would only be out of sheer jealousy.”

Planning officers argued that planning permission should be refused, saying there is “insufficient justification for the work that has been carried out”.

However, councillors on the committee took the opposite view, believing Mr Sowerby’s efforts had saved the building from a fate similar to that of St Catherine’s House and the Shirley Croft Hotel.

Coun Helen Powell said: “The property has been restored to its former glory...maybe more.

“There is no doubt in my mind that it has been emphatically enhanced in every way.”

Coun Adam Stokes agreed, praising the workmanship.

He said: “I too was on the site visit and I was taken aback at how fantastic it was.

“The quality of the work was second to none.”

The committee voted to defer the planning application. The councillors were, in Coun Howard’s words, “strongly minded to accept the proposal” but were told they could not due to the objections of English Heritage.

Instead the proposal will sent to the Secretary of State to adjudicate.