Firstly, Happy New Year to you all, let’s hope that 2021 and the roll out of the vaccines will help to lift us out of this pandemic and a return to something like normal life. Unfortunately we are still unable to plan our programme of events in these uncertain and ever-changing times. We are sorry to have to add to the gloomy picture by informing you of the latest plans to demolish Mary’s former home on Lyth Hill, Spring Cottage. Some of you may already be aware of this and also of the long history of planning applications submitted by the owner since 2013. The previous applications have been refused on appeal mainly due to the size and scale of the proposed property, its impact on the special landscape of Lyth Hill and its effect on the neighbouring properties, rather than the Mary Webb connection, although the planners could be in no doubt of the strength of feeling of both the society and the public judging by the number of objections received.
The current application is however somewhat different which you will be able to see from the documents and plans submitted to Shropshire County Council planning dept, Ref; 20/05286/FUL. The owner now seems determined to have these plans approved by addressing the points raised by the planning officers in their appeal refusal in that the size has been reduced, the property is lower down the site, having less impact on the neighbours (we will know more about their reactions following a Longden parish council meeting on 18th January) and there has been an extensive Heritage Impact Statement attempting to give the history of the property and of Mary Webb’s connection. Interestingly there is a proposal to retain and restore the original small part of the building which was Mary and Henry’s Spring Cottage, consisting of 2 rooms and a scullery, and rebuild it as a separate annexe onsite. The document also states that the owner is “willing to enter into a dialogue with the Mary Webb Society in the future regarding access to the remains of the original cottage.” We are not sure if this inclusion has been agreed on and how the owner envisages the building could be used.
I would urge you to look carefully at the plans and documents and send any comments/objections to the planning dept by 25th January 2021.
Saturday, January 9, 2021