Wheathampstead businessman's anger over plans rejection

PUBLISHED: 06:49 24 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:56 06 May 2010

A MILLIONAIRE property developer seeking to turn a listed building from an office into a home is furious that his plan has been turned down for the third time. David Payne, of Farm Place in Wheathampstead has owned the former rectory within the walled gar

A MILLIONAIRE property developer seeking to turn a listed building from an office into a home is furious that his plan has been turned down for the third time.

David Payne, of Farm Place in Wheathampstead has owned the former rectory within the walled garden area of the former Moat factory site in Wheathampstead for five years.

Mr Payne said: "The Old Rectory is a disused building which has fallen into disrepair. Although it is a Grade Two listed building, many parts of the building are as recent as the 1980s. I would have thought the council would be pleased to see it refurbished."

Previous attempts to update the building, part of which was damaged by fire in December 2008, were turned down on the grounds that it was a listed building and some of the planned alterations would compromise features of architectural or historic interest.

Officers had recommended refusal on the grounds that breaking up the site into smaller parcels of land would spoil the look of the walled garden.

Cllr Judy Shardlow, who is a member of St Albans District Council's plans (north) committee, which rejected the plan, explained: "If the office was converted into a house it would mean its garden would be part of the walled garden thus breaking up what should be preserved as a very beautiful and complete part of our heritage."

"We are not against the principle of restoring the old rectory to residential use and would be keen to see it restored sympathetically.

"The sticking point is the way the plan encroaches on the walled garden. If the walled garden was to be kept as a separate entity and restored to its former glory we would be delighted to see the rectory used as a home and Mr Payne may have been successful."

Councillors agreed that some of the previous concerns of the planners were addressed in the new bid to turn the former office into a three-bedroom home but rejected the application as it stood.


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