It is a decision with much hinging on it.

Officials have ordered the owners of a stunning 18th-century building to restore its front door to its previous state after they fitted a glass screen across it.

Council officers claim the new frontage detracts from the traditional appearance of the Grade II listed property's entrance and say it must be removed.

But the owners argue it offers crucial protection for the door, which is otherwise often splashed by traffic driving through puddles outside the house, on Bungay's Wharton Street.

They claim the screen has been added in a "sympathetic" way, which does not detract from the beautiful property, and have launched an appeal against the council's enforcement notice.

The red brick building contains five separate homes and is located prominently in the town's conservation area.

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Eastern Daily Press: East Suffolk Council have described the glass screen as alien to the townEast Suffolk Council have described the glass screen as alien to the town (Image: Bruno Brown)

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The door in question is for Number 11 Wharton Street.

East Suffolk Council (ESC) served an enforcement notice to the property's owners, Peter and Mrs Rachel Morrow, in November 2022, ordering them to remove the "alien" frontage.

The notice said: “Doors add to the appearance and historical significance of a building and so repairing existing doors is always preferable to a modern replacement."

It said the Bungay Conservation Area was "negatively impacted by this alien addition".

Bungay Town Council also supports the enforcement notice as the replacement door is "not in keeping" with the listed building and the conservation area.

It is now recommending that the Morrows' appeal is rejected.

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Eastern Daily Press: The homeowner's say the glass screen protects the doorThe homeowner's say the glass screen protects the door (Image: Bruno Brown)

Eastern Daily Press: The 'controversial' door at 11 Wharton Street, Bungay in 2009The 'controversial' door at 11 Wharton Street, Bungay in 2009 (Image: Google Maps)

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The couple, who have declined to comment, have argued in their appeal that they installed the screen to protect the door in a "sympathetic way", rather than allow it to face "accelerated preventable deterioration".

East Suffolk Council are reviewing the appeal and is yet to issue a verdict on the door.

Eastern Daily Press: The house on Wharton Street is on the corner of a busy roadThe house on Wharton Street is on the corner of a busy road (Image: Bruno Brown)

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Running from the town centre to the staithe, Wharton Street has traditionally been one of the most important and affluent areas of Bungay.

The street is thought to be named after Christian Wharton a bequest from whom in 1577 led to the establishment of a local almshouse.

As the town flourished, through the trade in corn, malt and coal - transported on the nearby Waveney - several prominent buildings started to appear along the road.

Commerce had been given an added impetus by the opening of the river navigation between the town and Great Yarmouth in 1672.

The resulting prosperity financed the rebuilding of the town.

By the end of the 18th century, classical façades had been added to many merchants' houses and Wharton Street contained an attractive group of red brick properties.

At around this time, an assembly room was constructed at the Three Tuns on Earsham Street.

Milling was also an important industry in the town and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries at least six windmills were operating.

Only one, in Tower Mill Road, now survives.