Relief over end to High Street restoration row

Dawn Branigan  outside her shop in High Street.
Dawn Branigan outside her shop in High Street.
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The owner of a Daventry business has spoken of her relief after an inspector approved plans to carry out structural repairs to the premises.

For the past two years the facade of First Light Photographic in High Street has been supported by scaffolding after Daventry District Council refused permission to carry out repairs and alterations.

Council officers were concerned that removing the modern cement render to reveal parts of the original 15th century timber frame structure and proposed oriel style windows would not be a ‘faithful’ restoration of the building.

However on Thursday last week planning inspector Nigel Harrison ruled against the council on both issues, stating that the restored timber frame would “add interest and variety” to the existing street scene and not be harmful to Daventry’s conservation area which restricts changes to the town’s historic centre.

For Ms Branigan the decision marks an end to the uncertainty which has thrown the future of her business into doubt.

She said: “I am ecstatic. I have waited two years for this. The original planning application was refused on May 14 last year. I have had a hell of a year because a week later I lost my father.

“It means a huge amount. It is the difference of keeping the business afloat or losing the business. Ecstatic is the word to use.

“I was dreading getting the letter. It was worse than waiting to see your A-level results. I can’t tell you how relieved I am; I know it was right for me and the business and right for Daventry.

“I lost my mum three years ago on the day I got the letter. I was like she was looking out for me.”