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What's your favourite building in Bourne?

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In my article back in September last year I explained that the Bourne Neighbourhood Steering Group was creating a list of buildings and structures in Bourne that are favourites with the public, even though they are not listed buildings or scheduled monuments, known as a Local List, writes Anthony Jennings.

To that end, the formal consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan that ended last November had a request for your nominations, and I also asked for these in my article.

Well, there have so far been more than 70 nominations as a result of the consultation and from the members of the steering group, and others are still trickling in.

Anthony Jennings
Anthony Jennings

If anybody has any more, would you please send them to me as soon as possible, at the email address: ajsjennings@hotmail.com.

I’m sure there are still hidden gems of architecture dotted around Bourne parish that have hitherto been overlooked and we really do need the list to be as comprehensive as possible.

A few of the nominations, for example Raymond Mays’ house, the Chapel of Rest, the Old Grammar School and the old Town Hall, had to be rejected because these buildings are listed, and Toft Tunnel was nominated but it is not in the parish.

Lincolnshire vernacular building in Abbey Road, Bourne
Lincolnshire vernacular building in Abbey Road, Bourne

But by far the most popular nomination resulting from the consultation was the former railway bridge, Bridge 234, illustrated here by this excellent photo courtesy of Steve Goddard.

This historic bridge is situated in a part of the Elsea Park development for which planning permission has recently been submitted, and, believe it or not, is under threat. It is obvious to everyone who has nominated this wonderful piece of railway heritage that it should be preserved in the centre of an open space to create an outstanding landmark for the benefit of the people of Bourne, and to the credit of the developer, for posterity.

That brings me back to another, but related, subject I am working on, namely the matter of the quality of design of new housing developments.

A section of old wall in Church Walk
A section of old wall in Church Walk

This is admittedly rather a hobbyhorse of mine, but here I am very much in line with Historic England, CPRE, national and local amenity groups and neighbourhood forums, and now even the government itself, united as we are in our concerns about the poor quality and generic nature of current housing estate design, which still, with only rare exceptions, makes no attempt whatever to understand, be guided by, and reflect the local vernacular style of the region, in this case the South Kesteven area.

Developers have consistently failed to apply themselves to this problem, thinking they can get away with their own generic designs and just plonk them down wherever in the country they are. It does them no credit, and, frankly, the fact that local authorities have let them get away with it, even though they are fully conscious of the problem, does those authorities little credit either.

The remedy, after all, is simple; we all know the Lincolnshire vernacular style is, in a nutshell, a simple rectangular house of local brick or stone, a pantiled roof with flat dormers, straight coped gable ends with ridge stacks (and none of those white fascia boards or barge boards), a simple plank and ledge door, casements or ‘Yorkshire sash’ windows and even perhaps mullions where appropriate, with proper, not fake, glazing bars; and all of course of environmentally friendly sustainable timber, not harmful plastics.

Bridge 234 on Elsea Park, Bourne. Photo: Steve Goddard
Bridge 234 on Elsea Park, Bourne. Photo: Steve Goddard

Anyway, we can only hope that things will change for the better, and to this end South Kesteven District Council has now proposed a design guide for the area, and the Bourne Neighbourhood Steering Group is also working on the problem by way of its own guidance.

Going back to the proposed Local List for Bourne, we at Bourne Civic Society have a role in this project because we are acting as an independent assessor of all nominations received by the Neighbourhood Plan group and so we will be looking at the nominations to ensure they comply with the relevant criteria.

South Kesteven as yet does not have a formal Local List, so we are hoping that if the council is happy with the list chosen by us, the public, for the Neighbourhood Plan, it will adopt it as its own list as well. A building on a local list has a certain degree of legal protection for planning purposes. While it doesn’t have the protection of a listed building, under the NPPF a locally listed building is nevertheless a material consideration in a planning decision, so there is a definite planning benefit in having a local list.

What do you think? Which Bourne buildings should be added to the Local List? Email ajsjennings@hotmail.com

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