Historic Great Bedwyn cottage demolished before English Heritage can protect it

This Is Wiltshire: A picture taken on July 7 after demolition work at the cottage at Stokke Common A picture taken on July 7 after demolition work at the cottage at Stokke Common

An 18th-century cottage in Great Bedwyn was demolished just a day before the building was given listed status.

It is understood 23 Stokke Common was knocked down on July 7 by owner Charles Bailey of Elcot Lane, Marlborough.

The following day English Heritage gave the building grade II listed status which means it cannot be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from Wiltshire Council.

In May Mr Bailey applied to Wiltshire Council to build a replacement property on the site of the cottage, formerly owned by Cherry Spencer before her death in August 2012, but he was refused because it would have resulted in the loss of a heritage asset.

Two earlier applications to demolish an 18th-century outhouse and 20th-century rear extension and construct a two-storey extension were granted planning permission in 2011 and in May this year.

Great Bedwyn Parish Council objected to the application for the replacement property. Chairman Roger Durie said: “The unfortunate thing is once it’s done you can’t undo it.

“It’s quite remote, it’s about half a mile from the main road, so not many people know about it. But the lady who used to live there was well known in the village so from that point of view I think quite a lot of people will be upset that it has gone.

“It’s got a lot of history through Cherry and also the building itself and to knock it down is quite scandalous.”

English Heritage received an application on June 24 to assess the cottage for listing.

An English Heritage spokesman said: “We were made aware that the windows to the 18th-century cottage were being removed in early July as we were recommending to the Department for Culture Media and Sport to list the building at Grade II.

"DCMS agreed with our advice and the building was listed on July 8 and all parties were notified.

“Unfortunately further clearance work had taken place immediately prior to the listing which resulted in the removal of further historic fabric from the building, including its thatch and roof timbers.

“We are of course disappointed that parts of the building were demolished while it was being considered for listing.”

Mr Bailey’s son said the demolition work had been carried out before the building was given listed status and within planning application guidelines.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “Buildings can only be demolished after prior notification to the council’s planning and building control departments.

“In this case it is the applicant’s opinion that in starting demolition works, they were implementing their existing approval for the construction of substantial extensions to the property.

"As the building has since been listed, we will now look into the options available to us and are likely to ask them to submit a listed building consent application for the reinstatement of the property.”

The Gazette tried to contact Mr Bailey but he has not returned calls.

Comments (6)

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5:44pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Sandhurst_SJ says...

This just goes to show how toothless the organisations are that are supposed to protect buildings of historic importance. Shame on Mr Bailey for being so careless of the country's heritage.
This just goes to show how toothless the organisations are that are supposed to protect buildings of historic importance. Shame on Mr Bailey for being so careless of the country's heritage. Sandhurst_SJ
  • Score: 16

6:17pm Fri 25 Jul 14

devina 45 says...

This was a beautiful cottage and to demolish it can only be described as criminal. obviously its new owner cares nothing for the history of the forest and I hope that Cherry makes her presence felt.
This was a beautiful cottage and to demolish it can only be described as criminal. obviously its new owner cares nothing for the history of the forest and I hope that Cherry makes her presence felt. devina 45
  • Score: 11

6:21pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Bournemouth Ohec says...

Shame on that Philistine.
Shame on that Philistine. Bournemouth Ohec
  • Score: 8

3:33pm Sat 26 Jul 14

loosewoman says...

It would be nice if the local people could refuse to provide this uncaring, selfish man with any of the goods and services he might require, whether denying him service at the village shop, or refusing to work on the spanking new, character and history-free house he doubtless intends to build on the site. I think people like this need to be turned into pariahs, to bring it home to them just how obnoxiously they've behaved.
It would be nice if the local people could refuse to provide this uncaring, selfish man with any of the goods and services he might require, whether denying him service at the village shop, or refusing to work on the spanking new, character and history-free house he doubtless intends to build on the site. I think people like this need to be turned into pariahs, to bring it home to them just how obnoxiously they've behaved. loosewoman
  • Score: 4

4:52pm Sun 27 Jul 14

sadofbedwyn says...

Ref Loosewoman's comment - well that would be typical Bedwyn, wouldn't it?! I certainly don't agree with what the man who owned the property has done but it looks like he had permission to demolish part of the building which was approved by the Parish Council in May this year.... This needs to be dealt with by Wiltshire Council according to Planning Regs.
Ref Loosewoman's comment - well that would be typical Bedwyn, wouldn't it?! I certainly don't agree with what the man who owned the property has done but it looks like he had permission to demolish part of the building which was approved by the Parish Council in May this year.... This needs to be dealt with by Wiltshire Council according to Planning Regs. sadofbedwyn
  • Score: 2

6:13pm Wed 30 Jul 14

saferroads says...

He was determined to knock the building down no matter what the council said or did He wanted his own way and by doing this he has achieved it It is a shame so many people do not think of our heritage in old buildings
He was determined to knock the building down no matter what the council said or did He wanted his own way and by doing this he has achieved it It is a shame so many people do not think of our heritage in old buildings saferroads
  • Score: 0

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