Opposition to demolitions in Haverhill town centre

Chauntry Mills, Haverhill
Chauntry Mills, Haverhill

High profile organisations have stood up to oppose the proposed demolition of listed buildings in the town centre.

Plans to demolish several listed buildings on the Chauntry Mills site in Haverhill’s High Street will come before St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s planning committee on March 5.

The proposed demolition would leave the distinctive French Gothic building, as well as the building that houses the factory’s old steam engine, Caroline, intact.

Knocking down the other buildings would, developers argue, make room for more sympathetic developments on the site, as well as help to show off the remaining buildings in a better light.

The council has received a number of objections to the proposals, including some from some high profile organisations such as The Victorian Society, SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the Association of industrial archaeology (Ironbridge institute) and RESCUE, the British Archaeological Trust.

In a letter to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Reuben Thorpe, Chairman of RESCUE, made clear his concerns for the loss of the buildings.

“The presumption in the case of designated heritage assets in the National Planning Policy Framework is for conservation rather than destruction,” said Mr Thorpe.

“In this case, the 19th Century buildings form a coherent group of a type that is relatively unusual in the eastern region.

“This would be destructive of the historic environment and a missed opportunity for a creative regeneration scheme that would enhance the town’s character.”

Mike Fox from SAVE Britain’s Heritage also wrote to the council, pointing out that the Grade II listed buildings were within the town’s conservation area.

“SAVE Britain’s Heritage writes to object in the strongest possible terms to planning

applications seeking permission for the demolition of six buildings at Chauntry Mills.

“The application seeks to demolish five listed buildings in a conservation area without any clear proposals for reusing the site.

“Such an application will, self-evidently, result in substantial harm to the listed buildings and the conservation area.”