LETTER: ‘Wisbech has a history of Quakers, and I don’t suppose they will be demolishing Peckover House any time soon’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2020

A fire-savaged former Quaker House that has stood in Chatteris since 1757 will be demolished for two new houses to be built  despite an outcry from heritage bosses. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

A fire-savaged former Quaker House that has stood in Chatteris since 1757 will be demolished for two new houses to be built  despite an outcry from heritage bosses. Picture: GOOGLE EARTH

Archant

Despite respecting the wishes of those for demolition of this historic building in Chatteris, I don’t see St Peter’s Church, or any other old chapels up for demolition around the town like the empty derelict one in London Road that formally housed a lighting firm, or the one in Park Street that is now a vets.

Mr Levic believes Arkwright & Sons in Chatteris should be demolished instead of Quaker House. Picture: FENLAND COUNCILMr Levic believes Arkwright & Sons in Chatteris should be demolished instead of Quaker House. Picture: FENLAND COUNCIL

As regards the building being ugly that means simple, plain and austere which conforms to their beliefs as Quakers are more humble in nature and virtue.

The building is not derelict as it still has a roof and windows in it, it is merely empty and vacated. Presumably the white walls are a later addition or stand for purity.

As regards much needed new homes, Fenland District Council could reverse all these refusals to build 106 housing that has become an epidemic across Cambridgeshire!

If there are any buildings that need demolishing, it's that derelict Arkwright's shop. The row of old collages minus their roofs in Bridge Street? They are actually structurally unsound.

I believe it's called Wally's Yard, and the derelict boarded up house with pebble dash, that stands opposite it? Then we have the car show room at the Empress swimming pool. The shop on the corner/junction of Edward Road that possibly still has no wooden floor in it and remains non-inhabitable for retail purposes.

It's a damn good job after all those years of dereliction they never demolished the Wesleyan Chapel opposite Bridge House takeaway in Bridge Street. It really made some lovely flats and apartments for first timers getting on the property ladder.

In fact, Wisbech has a history of Quakers, and in any case, I don't suppose they will be demolishing Peckover House any time soon either.

As it stands the Quakers meeting house stands of national historic importance, let alone just a grade two. Maybe it could be turned into a Quaker museum for visitors? But no building is beyond repair, did they demolish Westry church after the fire or rebuild it?

In any case, if you replace a single-storey building, you must replace it with a single-storey building. The only excuse is a chalet bungalow with a mezzanine floor and windows in the roof. If the hall was structurally unsound instead of derelict, then you could demolish it and make an application for two-storey houses as replacements. That's my understanding of planning regulations.

You may also find out if you convert it into a bungalow, you cannot put new doorways in the Ash Grove side of the building!

Mr Levic, March

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