Dispute over restoration

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The fate of one of Daventry’s oldest listed buildings will be decided in the coming days following an appeal to the planning inspectorate.

Dawn Branigan, who runs First Light Photographic from the building at 3 High Street, attended a meeting with council representatives and inspector Nigel Harrison on Tuesday, February 10.

Permission to conduct alterations and repairs to the shop front was refused last year amidst concerns the changes, which include creating two oriel windows, would not be a ‘faithful’ restoration of the 15th century timber-framed structure which has been almost entirely supported by scaffolding running across the pavement outside for the past two years.

Concerns were raised over the changes, which also include exposing the original wooden timber which council officers felt was not in keeping with the character and appearance of the Daventry’s conservation area, and its 18th century appearance.

The original report states: “It (the structure) is prominent in the town centre conservation area, and the settings of a number of other listed buildings.

“As the proposals do not include alterations to the modern ground floor, the finished appearance will be an incongruous hybrid and not an authentic replication of the building as it stood in the 15th centre.”

The planning inspector heard how while Daventry Town Council and several district councillors had backed the scheme, English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) had raised concerns the changes were a form of ‘conjectural restoration’ as the oriel windows were based on uncertain architectural evidence.

The building is one of the few timber framed structures remaining in Daventry, in part due to development during the 1980s, and is especially rare because of Northamptonshire’s tradition of building in limestone.