The battle to preserve the original Spring Cottage home of famous Shropshire novelist Mary Webb may be far from over. Concern is mounting that part of the original cottage built in 1916-17 for Mary and her husband Henry, to Mary’s own design, may be demolished. This would be a direct contravention of the conditions of the planning application granted in August 2021.
A Society spokesperson said, “Our fear is that one of the three rooms and lobby of the original Spring Cottage, Mary Webb’s beloved home, in which she wrote her most famous novel Precious Bane, may be demolished and lost forever if further action is not taken. It is a condition of the current planning approval that the owners liaise with the Society and Council officers to ensure that the whole original and historic Spring Cottage is retained on site as a separate garden annex, keeping the original features and with a definite plan for future maintenance.”
With no detailed floor plan for the original cottage in the planning application, and only part of it evident in the block plan, the Society has informed the owners’ architects that detailed plans for the original 1916 cottage are freely available to consult in the Shropshire Archives and the Planning Department.
Society President and leading authority on Mary Webb, Dr Gladys Mary Coles, and other objectors to the current plans, also highlighted the destruction of the garden, including the felling of many mature trees which should have been preserved, as stipulated in the planning permission. As a passionate nature lover and early environmentalist, Society members believe that this “sorry scene of destruction” would have appalled Mary Webb, who had herself planted many saplings and a hawthorn hedge in the early months of living at her modest cottage home.
The Society hopes that Shropshire residents, who may be unaware of the current variation to the planning application, will share their grave concerns that a precious part of Shropshire’s heritage is in danger of being lost forever.
The planning application and related documents may be seen here
The determination date is 28th February but obviously we need responses as soon as possible!
With many thanks for your support from the committee of the Mary Webb Society