A Grade II listed building on the picturesque island of St Martin’s in the Scilly Isles will soon be getting a much needed overhaul, after planners gave it the all-clear.
The approval for the Bleak House refurbishment is not unconditional though, with the final extent of works still needing to be passed.
The Duchy of Cornwall, who owns the site, wants to alter the property’s internal layout significantly. This includes plans to replace the concrete floor, perhaps leading to consultations with concrete floor contractors. Most notably, the owners also want to replace the existing glasshouse and apply external wall tanking.
The planners at English Heritage still have some concerns over such projects. The problem is in regards to fears of the building losing much of its original fabric, particularly with the glasshouse being demolished and the installation of the tanking. Many of the concerns are being addressed but there will be delays in the project as a result.
The Duchy claims that the removal and replacement of more modern additions will be beneficial to the site. However, English Heritage argues that the existing features better tell the story of the building throughout its life.
With plans for new plumbing and wiring in the building and to repair or replace much of the internal woodwork, other stumbling blocks also exist. Regarding the wooden panelling, planning consultant Bill Wilson said that he required repair and restoration to be favoured, for example.
The application was approved, though, on the condition that there will be continued negotiations, mindful that with the building standing empty since November 2011, there were real concerns that its deterioration could accelerate.
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