1 – 3 Ock Street, Abingdon – planning application is in!

The planning application has now been submitted and has been registered by the Vale of White Horse District Council.

As posted earlier, the building is Grade 2 Listed and sits in the  Abingdon Town Centre Conservation Area. So as well as applying for planning permission we have to apply for listed building consent too.

Proposed rear elevation, 1 – 3 Ock Street, Abingdon

Over the years the building has become institutionalised with fire doors, signage, security doors and systems, anaglypta wall paper, magnolia paint, surface wiring and general neglect. We cannot ignore safety and other regulation but we do want to return the building to its former glory, restoring some of the original features as well as rendering the building “fit for purpose” as a modern office environment. A number of changes are proposed which include the following:

  • the reinstatement of some openings within the building
  • the removal of modern internal partitions
  • restoration of an external side opening
  • refurbishment of and restoration to the roof of the front portico
  • external redecoration in heritage Georgian colours
  • creation of an internal glazed roof office
  • removal of the rear internal fire escape
  • provision of a replacement fire escape with first floor deck area
  • refurbishment of external elevations and woodwork

We feel the proposed changes will breathe new life into what is at present an outdated, tired and somewhat neglected listed building. Our proposals seek to respect the history of the building, where possible restoring original features, whilst at the same time creating modern and useable office space. That special fusion of old and new.

The importance of the front facade is evident from the listing schedule. In order to maintain the importance of this facade, the portico will be restored, the brickwork repaired, the stonework cleaned and the woodwork repainted in traditional Georgian heritage colours.

The proposed development will comply fully with Local Plan Policy HE5 and with the NPPF requirements set out at paragraphs 128 and 129. In summary we believe that the proposed works will benefit the conservation and future of this heritage building as well as enhancing the character of the conservation area.

Copies of the planning application and all the supporting plans and documents can be found at;

http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/java/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P12/V1538/LB

and at

http://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/java/support/Main.jsp?MODULE=ApplicationDetails&REF=P12/V1537/FUL

Any comments on the proposals would be welcomed.

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3 responses to “1 – 3 Ock Street, Abingdon – planning application is in!

  1. Anthony Lavers

    Will follow the unfolding story with great interest. Sympathetic development of listed buildings,especially in important town centre locations,is something I believe in very strongly. It is all the more gratifying in a town where a number of bad planning decisions have been made. I found a guidebook to Britain from the 1930s in a second hand bookshop in Herefordshire,which described Abingdon as ‘In the view of many the most beautiful town in England’. When you look at the buildings and setting it had then,you could see that this must have been a tenable view. The ‘development’ aspect of the equation is exactly as important as the ‘sympathetic’ ,since few can afford to pay for useless conservation. We need successful businesses in our town centres to repair some of the damage done by supermarkets to local commerce and activity,and especially successful businesses which utilise and maintain important buildings. I wish this application every success.

    • Anthony,

      Despite the damage wrought to the town, particularly in the 1960’s, the history of Abingdon is remarkable. There are now signs that the local authority are beginning to rectify mistakes of the past and we will, as a responsible business, want to play our part in promoting that change. It has taken a long time in coming but is all the more welcome for that fact.

      Your interest is really appreciated.

      Chris Wilmshurst

  2. I too will be following the unfolding story with interest. Having spent 4 years living in Abingdon I always felt it was a beautiful old historic town, but spoilt by more latter day developers, in particular the shopping area – awful. It would be reassuring to know that local authorities may be recognising this and rectifying their mistakes. Lets hope in the meantime, more developers will follow your view and take a simpathetic approach and research the history of the area beforehand, although I doubt it!

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