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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2006-06 > 1151106962

From: "Colleen" <>
Subject: Re structural mods to old churches
Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2006 00:56:02 +0100

Thanks to everyone who offered advice with this query about the incongruous
structural mods that have been made to the ancient church of All Saints,
Tolleshunt Knights - which include cemented up stone windows, a modern PVC
window in the rear, windows fitted in the roof and very poorly done, DIY
cementing of ancient rendering which does more damage than it repairs.

I contacted SPAB as suggested, who were very helpful and told me that they
aren't happy about the mods either, and neither are the local authority.
SPAB also told me that, contrary to my belief, the church was Grade 2 Listed
in 1959, which should have given it a measure of protection. SPAB also said
that the Monastery who've owned the church for the past 50 - 60 years have
applied for permission to have an approved firm apply a new coat of
rendering to the outside of the church and that, because of the amount of
damage to the rendering that's already occurred, this has been approved by
the local authority. I can't honestly see that this drastic a course of
action is necessary or justified, though I'd like to find out more about
just how much of the rendering is to be covered up by this work. This seems
to me to leave the door wide open for anyone who wants to modernise a Listed
building and can't get permission to do to get this by the 'back door' - by
stealthily carrying out a series of small, incongruous alterations which do
so much damage that they then force the local authority to allow them to do
what they want. I'm not suggesting that this is what the owners of All
Saints have done, but others could certainly do it.

SPAB advised me to contact the local authority, they've been very helpful
and I've been speaking to them over the past few days. One thing I've
learned is that, as I suspected, most of the DIY work that been carried out
at All Saints has been done without permission. The Listed buildings staff
said that the problem they have is that they can't prove when the work was
actually carried out. I hope that my collection of the church from c 1902,
through the 1920s, 40s, 50s and 2000 might help to establish that some of
this work has been carried out under the present owners. However, one member
of staff has suggested that even if this can be shown, if the work was done
over 10 years ago then there may not be much chance of taking any action in
respect of this. In my view that's outrageous. All in all, I believe the
regulations protecting Listed buildings are far too permissive.

At least the local authority say they are looking into my complaint and
these mods a bit more now. I hope at least that the knowledge that there's
been a complaint and that someone is keeping an eye on this church will
prompt the present owners to be ensure that future work to the church is
carried out by contractors who are qualified to do it and who will work
under the guidance of the Listed Buildings staff.

Staff have said they will also look into my concern that graveyard appears
to have become sparser in recent years. I'm taking my old pictures there
this weekend to compare the building - and graves - now with the pictures of
these over the years.

One other point of concern is that when I last looked inside the church, the
Baptismal font, where my grandmother and her brothers and sisters were
baptised in the 1890s, had been moved to a room at the back of the church.
The Listed buildings office staff have told me that this has since been
moved to the Monastery - I do hope its still there.

If anyone has any further thoughts on any of this I'd be interested to hear


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