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Do you think Blakeney’s former parsonage should be saved?

PUBLISHED: 10:56 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 November 2017

Councillors visiting the rectory earlier this year as part of a site visit. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

Councillors visiting the rectory earlier this year as part of a site visit. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

ALLY McGILVRAY

A council is being taken to court in a fight to save a north Norfolk rectory, which was built by local architect John Page.

A graphic of the proposed new property in Blakeney. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY A graphic of the proposed new property in Blakeney. Picture: ALLY McGILVRAY

North Norfolk Planning Watch’s (NNPW) judicial review case, challenging North Norfolk District Council’s decision to allow the

demolition of the historic former parsonage at Wiveton Road, Blakeney will be heard before the High Court in London on November 29.

Earlier this year the council approved plans to knock down the rectory, despite strong opposition, and replace it with a controversial two-storey, five-bedroomed modern home- designed by Mr Page’s great-nephew, Anthony Hudson.

Barendina Smedley, director of North Norfolk Planning Watch, a community group set up to oppose the demolition, said: “They want to replace it with a bulky, intrusive structure featuring large expanses of glass and metal, completely out of keeping with the surrounding buildings.

“This sympathetic family parsonage was built by architects Holtom & Page in 1925. John Page, one of the architects, designed many other landmarks in the area over the following decades — including Blakeney’s war memorial. The rectory is an important example of his early work.

“Architecture aside, this is also a building with special memories for generations of local people. It requires gentle, thoughtful renovation, not irreversible destruction.

“The former rectory is the gateway to the village. It blends comfortably into its surroundings, an integral part of the historic ‘ecclesiastical precinct’ of the parish, including the old rectory, village school, former school house and Grade I listed church of St Nicholas Blakeney.”

Back in January the council’s development committee voted unanimously in favour of Ross and Rachel Thrower’s application to knock down the neglected 1924 six-bedroomed, two-storey detached house.

But many people objected and said the demolition of the building, described as a late example of an Arts and Crafts Movement house by Mr Page, would be a great loss to the village.

However, Mr Hudson, who designed the planned replacement, told the meeting his great-uncle’s building would look better in Hampstead Garden Suburb and the new house was in keeping with the Blakeney tradition of continuity and change.

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