WISBECH: Lillian Room's former home refused permission for alterations
EXCLUSIVE by MAGGIE GIBSON ALTERING the roof and installing dormer windows in the historic home which once belonged to Wisbech photographer Lilian Ream would be unacceptable, say planners. The house at 4 The Crescent was built over three storeys and with
EXCLUSIVE by MAGGIE GIBSON
ALTERING the roof and installing dormer windows in the historic home which once belonged to Wisbech photographer Lilian Ream would be unacceptable, say planners.
The house at 4 The Crescent was built over three storeys and with a basement. It dates from the early 1800s and has remained almost untouched, being the only house among its neighbours to have just two bedrooms.
The owners have been refused listed building consent to carry out the alterations to provide two extra bedrooms.
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The current occupier has owned the house since 2000 and has used it as a second home. He now wants to settle permanently in the town and add further bedroom accommodation to restore the property to its original use as a family home.
Fenland District Council says that while the neighbouring house at number 5 had its roof line changed, but many years ago - possibly as much as 100 years.
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Planners say: "If the proposal was approved, a precedent would be set for neighbouring properties in The Crescent making it difficult to refuse further applications which would result in the loss of the varying and interesting roof lines which currently exist and the loss of historic roof structures."
Wisbech Town Council also recommended the plan be turned down pointing out planning policy guidelines which state: "The roof is nearly always a dominant feature of a building and the retention of its original structures, shape, pitch, cladding and ornament is important."
The property has an interesting history. Joseph Medworth left the house to his daughter Mary Medworth Gibson on his death in 1827. It is believed to have remained in purely residential use until 1909 when photographer Lilian Ream took a lease of it.
Mrs Ream built studio space over the garden and the outbuildings served as a photographic studio, dance hall, optician and storage until the 1990s until they were demolished.
She acquired the freehold of the property in 1917 and it remained in the Ream family, along with number 5, until 1971.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, numbers 4 and 5 were under common ownership, with their last shared usage being an art gallery with flats above. In the 1990s the two houses were restored to single household occupancy.