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Residents brand plans to extend 'magical and quaint' building disrespectful

PUBLISHED: 16:01 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:01 23 July 2019

Cemetery Lodge (left) in Dereham could be extended. Picture: Ian Burt

Cemetery Lodge (left) in Dereham could be extended. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

People in a mid-Norfolk town are calling for a petition to be launched to save a 'magical and quaint' building from development.

It comes following the announcement that the lodge at Dereham's cemetery, on Cemetery Road, could be extended into a four-bedroom house .

Options for the future of Cemetery Lodge are set to be discussed at Dereham Town Council's social and welfare committee meeting tonight (Tuesday July 23).

But the news has sparked outrage for some residents who are less than happy with the proposal.

Rosie Hawes, who took to the Times' Facebook page to comment, believed the move could cause problems later down the line and urged others to take a stand.

"They is only one reason why they are trying to get planning permission to make it into a four-bedroom house," she said. "It's because it will only be a matter of time before they will take away the gravestones and put up a housing estate. You will find that is the real reason.

"We must all act now, not next week or the week after, because once it's got permission that's it."

Bill Raper called for it be protected as a listed building while Alison Phillips suggested starting a petition - an idea which was supported by others.

Kay O'Brien has lived in Dereham since moving to the market town at the age of four. She said: "Dereham will never be the same.

"I'd happily live there whether it's a two-bedroom lodge or not! A petition needs to start as I'm 1,000 per cent signing it."

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Nearby resident Sam Day said: "We live a stone's throw away and take the kids on their bikes here often. It's almost magical and quaint - why extend? It's beautiful the way it is. Rent it out cheap to someone who wants to watch out over the grounds."

Hannah Osborne believed that if the building was extended it would create traffic and parking "chaos" in the area.

And Kevin Hawes, whose grandparents are buried at the cemetery, branded the move disrespectful.

Some residents suggested the lodge should have a different use entirely.

Trevor Hawes said: "It should be made into a quiet place for reflection and a place to sit and sip a light drink."

Gillian Cornell added: "There are plenty of couples and single people who would welcome the opportunity to live in the revamped building - there are few enough smaller properties available to rent or buy. Stop destroying everything with unsightly and unnecessary extensions."

The lodge, whose long-term tenant left in June, currently has two bedrooms and would need refurbishment to make it suitable for re-letting

Under the council's consideration are five options, including a planning application to "extend the lodge so that it has 3/4 decent-sized bedrooms and associated living space".

The potential action of selling the plot with permission to build an additional property in the garden will also be discussed.

Among the other options are refurbishing and re-letting the lodge, selling the building as it is, or refurbishing and selling the property.

Council documents published ahead of tonight's meeting indicate the recommended course of action is to apply for permission to extend the lodge.

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