Virtual meeting to discuss building homes at historic site in St Ives

Virtual meeting to discuss building on historic site in St Ives will take place on July 20.

Virtual meeting to discuss building on historic site in St Ives will take place on July 20. - Credit: Archant

New homes proposed for the site of an historic building near St Ives will not have a significant impact on the appearance of the riverside area, council planners have said.

But the scheme, by Stay New Homes, has drawn opposition from nearby parishes and local residents who fear the 18 homes will harm the setting and conservation area.

Stay New Homes wants to build the houses and refurbish the listed Lodge on land at The How, a Grade II listed mansion, which was the home of the late Rex Wadsworth, a prominent local businessman and former town mayor.

Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council are recommending that the planning service manager be given powers to approve the development, subject to conditions and the completion of a Section 106 agreement which governs the amount of cash developers have to make available for facilities designed to offset the effects of construction.

It will be discussed at a “virtual” planning meeting on July 20.

The site is between the former golf course and Houghton Grange where hundreds of new houses are being built or are at the planning stage.

The number of proposed homes at the site had been reduced from 33 to 18, including five affordable properties, and The Lodge, which was listed with The How a year ago, would also be refurbished. Planners expect a separate application to be made for The How.

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A report to the committee said planners considered the scheme to be considered “acceptable”.

They said: “Officers consider the collective material benefits of the proposed development firmly outweigh the identified harm.

“Taking national and local planning policies into account, and having regard to all relevant material considerations, it is concluded that the proposed development is acceptable.”

St Ives Town Council, Hemingford Grey Parish Council and Houghton and Wyton Parish Council all opposed the plan and there were 12 objectors.

Historic England described The How as a Victorian house of “considerable interest”, with the grounds forming the setting of the listed building and the adjoining meadows that were included in St Ives Conservation Area.

It said development would inevitably have an impact on the setting.

The council’s conservation officer described The How as an “excellent example of a small country house in the Victorian Gothic Revival style by the known Architect William White.”