Green light for redevelopment of historic Cossall 'gem' despite concerns
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Following the decision by the Secretary of State not to call in the application, planning permission has now been approved by Broxtowe Borough Council for work to commence in restoring the old Willoughby Almshouses in the village – turning them into new residential homes again.
The well-loved Jacobean building has stood empty for the last few years after being deemed unfit for human habitation, with the latest plans to restore it being met with contention by Historic England and other heritage conservation organisations.
The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) is concerned the development will cause huge damage to the landmark building, which is grade-II listed and dates back to 1685.
Matthew Slocombe, director of the SPAB, said: “Given the extent of change proposed to the building’s historic plan form and fabric, its front and rear elevations, and its setting, little will remain of its special interest after the proposals are implemented.
“It is a move that will see their unique character destroyed.
“We would welcome the building being repaired and brought back into use, but this could be done in a much more sensitive way, for example by providing smaller affordable homes, for which there is a real need.”
Despite these concerns, many residents in the village have welcomed the plans and shared their views on social media.
One said: “I hope this is sorted soon as it’s so sad seeing them falling into ruin.”
Another said: “Surely sympathetic restoration is better than letting them decay.”
A third added: “So much history in those buildings. Would be nice to see them used again.”
When approached for comment, Broxtowe Borough Council confirmed the plans were unanimously favoured by the planning committee.
A spokesperson added: “Following the decision by the Secretary of State not to call in the application, planning permission has now been approved, in line with the recommendation by planning committee.”