Broxtowe Council Approves Insensitive Almshouses Scheme Despite Heritage Experts’ Objections

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We are disappointed to report that Broxtowe Council’s Planning Committee has voted to grant planning and listed building consent to an insensitive development of the Grade II* Willoughby Almshouses in Cossall, Nottinghamshire. 

This consent has been granted despite objections from Historic England, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Historic Buildings and Places, and the Council for British Archaeology. The consent also goes against recommendations from Broxtowe’s own conservation and planning officers. 

Earlier this year, the High Court quashed the unlawful listed building consent that Broxtowe Council had previously granted. This was because the council had failed to fulfil its statutory duty to consult the National Amenity Societies. 

Since that consent was overturned, we have repeatedly written to the developers and the council offering our help in bringing these unique buildings back into use without compromising their character. Unfortunately, the applicant was not prepared to engage with us.

The Grade II* listed Willoughby Almshouses are an exceptionally fine example of 17th century almshouse buildings. They are of both local and national significance, forming an integral part of Cossall’s historic conservation area and falling in the top 8% of listed buildings in England. 

The developers’ approved scheme reduces the seven existing homes to make four large houses, through internal demolition work and rear extensions, seriously harming the historic character and significance of the building. 

We understand that Broxtowe Council is now referring the case to the Secretary of State. Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for DLUHC (the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) has the right to ‘call in’ the application for his own determination and a potential public enquiry, as he did recently with the M&S department store on Oxford Street

We await Gove’s decision. 

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