Firm is baffled by barn U-turn

PUBLISHED: 12:46 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

No thing of beauty - the dilapidated building which the concil thought should be partly preserved

No thing of beauty - the dilapidated building which the concil thought should be partly preserved

ARCHITECTS who demolished a dilapidated building instead of restoring it have had their application for a new barn on the site refused. Scurr and Partners, who need more space for their 70-strong staff at Harpendenbury Farm in Redbourn, currently operate

ARCHITECTS who demolished a dilapidated building instead of restoring it have had their application for a new barn on the site refused.

Scurr and Partners, who need more space for their 70-strong staff at Harpendenbury Farm in Redbourn, currently operate from The Tithe Barn in an isolated position near the River Ver.

They restored the old tithe barn for use as offices but wished to build additional offices with parking on the same site and obtained planning permission to convert an old dairy barn on the site provided they kept 17 per cent of the remaining walls.

Instead they demolished the barn, incurring the wrath of St Albans district councillors who subsequently voted to take enforcement action against them.

Mrs Jeryl Scurr, wife of owner David, maintained at the time that the barn was little more than a few breeze blocks hanging together and it would have cost a fortune to underpin and stabilise the building. She said it had to be demolished for safety reasons.

But councillors subsequently had a change of heart, called the matter back in and declared their support for what the Scurrs were attempting to do on the site.

Speaking at the time Cllr John Chambers said: "What they have done with the old tithe barn is tasteful and I am sure that what they hope to build there will be totally in keeping and enhance the area."

But in another U-turn, the council's plans (north) committee turned down the Scurrs' new application before Christmas because of its position in the Green Belt and its proximity in terms of height and size to the Grade II-listed Tithe Barn.

David Scurr said: "We were totally devastated, especially after being told that it would be looked upon favourably."

But committee member Cllr Alison Steer said their hands were tied because the architects had appealed against the enforcement action.

She said: "I fully support what they are trying to do there but we can't pre-empt the appeal nspector's decision."

It is believed that decision will not be revealed until June.

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