Listed status granted to historic home in St Ives

The How, in St Ives. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The How, in St Ives. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

An historic mansion near St Ives has been granted listed status to protect the building ahead of redevelopment plans which could have seen demolition workers move in.

Huntingdonshire District Council called on Historic England to list The How, in Houghton Road, and the building was granted Grade II status on June 25.

The council had earlier received plans to refurbish and extend The How - designed by prominent Victorian architect William White - together with its conversion and that of The Lodge. Demolition of various structures and the construction of two new buildings on the site would also have taken place.

The scheme would yield 22 dwellings, including seven affordable units.

The How, the former home of the late prominent businessman Rex Wadsworth, a long-serving councillor and a mayor of St Ives, is in the centre of land earmarked for development around the town's former golf course.

The listing would protect the key parts of the building during the redevelopment of the land.

Andy Moffat, head of development at the council, said: "As part of the growth we need to plan for across the district, it is important that we also protect the important elements of our district that residents hold dear. Our built heritage is a key part of this.

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"The recognition of the historic and architectural importance of The How by Historic England ensures that its special interest can be retained as part of development proposals at the site."

The How was built between 1868 and 1870 to the designs of White, who has been described as the "most interesting but least known" of the Victorian Gothic Revivalists.

He had nearly 350 commissions to his name, many of which have been listed, including several buildings in the St Ives area.

The How was built for Gilbert Ansley, who was related by marriage to White's sister, and the choice of White as architect is also linked to the success of his other local buildings.

Historic England said: "It is a notable example of the polychromatic domestic work of the highly regarded Victorian architect who is associated with a great number of listed buildings.

"The use of local gault brick alongside the prominent red brick dressings and plain clay tiles produces a harmonious palette which is aesthetically very successful, and White's insistence on using local building materials handled by local builders anticipates the ideas of the Arts and Crafts movement."

The building was listed because of its special architectural and historic interest.

There have been concerns that development in the area would lead to the communities of St Ives and Houghton and Wyton becoming joined and residents of the two villages have called for a separation gap to be retained.