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Fight to save one of Sale's oldest buildings
8:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A NATIONAL conservation society has joined forces with Trafford heritage ‘champions’ in making a last-ditch plea to save a historic building in Sale, that is earmarked for demolition.
Listed building consent was granted in July to knock down St Paul’s Vicarage to provide a green play area and garden for neighbouring Springfield Primary School in Sale.
The plot, on Springfield Road, will be used for a playing field and a garden for the soon-to-be expanded school.
The scheme was unanimously approved by Trafford’s planning committee, and referred to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, after members heard the school urgently needs more green space. It is built on a restricted site bordered by the Bridgewater Canal.
But Trafford Heritage Society’s George Cogswell and Sale Civic Society’s Pat Coulburn say the 160-year old house must be saved as it is one of the oldest buildings in Sale – and they are backed by the Victorian Society, the national charity responsible for the study and protection of Victorian and Edwardian architecture The three groups played key roles in saving historic Sale Hotel in 2009.
George said: “People don’t usually get to see the best side of it, because that is facing the canal tow path and is hidden.
“But it is the fourth oldest building in Sale and is such an important part of the town’s heritage.”
A spokesman for the Victorian Society said the notification sent to it by the council about the scheme had gone astray. Trafford Council, though, pointed out that the Victorian Society and Sale Civic Society were among seven heritage groups it notified of the scheme.
The Victorian Society said it would have strongly objected to the demolition plan.
“It is a rather lovely building from the canal side with a lot of character.
”I am sure there are other options to provide land for the school without demolishing the building.”
Although the application has been approved, the society is considering its options to assess if there is any action it can still take to save the building.
Trafford has agreed to forward the Victorian Society’s comments to the planning casework unit processing the application on behalf of the Secretary of State.
“Hopefully our comments can still be taken into account by the Secretary of State, ”said the Victorian Society spokesman Pat, the secretary of Sale Civic Society, said she believed it is possible to meet the school’s needs as well as save the house, as there is plenty of land around it.
“I can see that the school needs more space but I feel there is no need to demolish the building.
“They could use it as a nursery or let it our as a community area.
“It is part of our history, built at a time when Sale was developing with the arrival of the railway – and that is just as important as providing playing fields.”
At the meeting which approved the demolition, councillors heard that St Paul’s Church is a listed building and the vicarage is considered to be a ‘curtilage listed’ structure.
The church was built three decades after the house, which was originally a merchant’s house before becoming a vicarage after the church opened its doors in 1883.
Planning committee member, Cllr Phil Gratrix, said at the meeting: “There is a lack of green space at this school.
“If we can provide some green space by removing that ugly building, it should happen as soon as possible.”
Cllr Brian Shaw said: “This is a really good application.”
Trafford Council insisted it had exceeded its statutory consultation obligations and consulted over a wide area about the application. Letters were sent to English Heritage and the six other societies, including the Victorian Society and Sale Civic Society.
English Heritage responded to the consultation and raised no objections. Both applications were also listed in the weekly plans list which is available on the council’s website.
Six site notices advertising both applications were erected in three locations - outside the church, the canalside and outside the vicarage. The applications were also advertised in the Messenger.
A spokesman said: “The report presented to the planning committee recognised the age of the building and contained a thorough assessment of the vicarage and its contribution to the historic development of Sale.
“The proposed demolition of the vicarage was weighed against the public benefit of providing outdoor play space for Springfield Primary School. The planning committee resolved to grant permission for both applications, subject to referral to the Secretary of State."
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