Protecting Our Heritage: Recent Actions by The Canterbury Society

The Canterbury Society, apart from commenting on major planning applications, keeps an eye on the condition of the City’s  heritage built environment.  A recent case (EN/00269/HP) which has been causing concern is the state of two adjoining buildings in St. Peter’s Street,  i.e. Holland & Barrett and Tui.  These are two old buildings,  precious remnants of the city prior to the World War II bombing, and part of the street-scape and history of the City.  Their condition has in the last year deteriorated badly, and the Society has, since last summer, been writing and contacting members of the Council about its condition.

Briefly the situation is as follows: last year it was noticed  that the rain water pipe on the front of the adjoining buildings was broken and the valley gutter between them blocked with vegetation.  After a series of letters a new and suitably dimensioned downpipe was installed, but the work failed to clear the vegetation from the valley hopper head.  Water now is therefore backsurging under the adjoining roofs and cascading over the foliage down the facades, with serious consequential damage.  As of today (17th February 2018) that condition pertains, despite appeals for action to the Council Heritage Champion Cllr Robert Thomas and several more letters to the Enforcement Department at the Council.

UPDATE: 7th March 2018 – The Canterbury Society is very pleased to be able to report that, following putting pressure since last Spring on the Council to deal with the degradation of the condition of these two buildings, the Council is now engaged in enforcement procedures for repairs to be done. The Society would welcome the membership’s help in keeping a watch out for any buildings in the City that are being neglected and in need of maintenance and or repair. This requires keeping eyes looking up at the roofs, gutters and valleys as well as the facades or shop fronts.

The current financial constraints are well understood, but to further lose any of our old buildings  reduces the character of the City and its draw for visitors, who are the economic life line of the High Street,  businesses and local employment.

UPDATE: 16th March 2018 – Following repeated appeals concerning the deteriorating condition of the above two buildings, a very welcome response from Canterbury City Council is that they have revisited the site and have now issued a new Enforcement Notice, which states that the owners will be given the voluntary option to ensure that repairs are carried out, but should this not happen the Planning Department MAY seek to use its formal enforcement powers.  Since receiving this letter it is understood that planning law has been changed recently, and Councils are not obliged to enforce repairs if they are not so minded.

At the last Canterbury Society Committee meeting (February 14th 2018) the following buildings were recorded as being at risk and Canterbury City Council alerted.

1) Turkish kebabs shop

  • The kebab shop on the corner of St. Dunstans Street near the Westgate Towers, which recently had a serious fire, which the fire brigade heroically managed to save from spreading to neighbouring historic buildings. It is now boarded up, and concern was expressed as to the whether the damaged roof had been  protected from weather entering the building
  • The boarding up for security purposes, whilst welcomed, may reduce ventilation and lead to rot
  • The gutters along the side of the building are full of vegetation

2) The Falstaff in St. Dunstans Street

  • This hotel building consists of a row of ancient cottages, joined by colour to create a unified façade.
  • The colour chosen has,  being  dark, encouraged the south facing façade to heat up and deteriorate.  Also the guttering between the roofs has vegetation.

3) Betting Shop, Castle Street

  • The rear of this old building is badly neglected and damaged by insensitive additions

Actions to protect historic Canterbury: tell us about Buildings At Risk

The Canterbury Society welcomes the membership acting as  its eyes and ears,  to help preserve the finite and fragile stock of old buildings in the city. Click here to contact us.

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