Apologies for the lack of posts recently. We haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but any physical work on the cottage continues to be at a standstill. Here’s what’s been going on…
The last few weeks or so at the cottage have been busy, but not with any renovation work unfortunately. We are still in discussions with the council regarding our planning application, and the exposure of the original cotswold stone.
So a couple of weekends ago we set about collecting names and comments from all our local friends, neighbours and passers by, as well as visiting the local shops and pubs asking for their support with our works. We have had an incredible amount of positive comments, showing so much enthusiasm and support for our work, and so we hope this will stand for quite a lot.
As well as this, we have been researching the history of our town, and the local area as a conservation area. We have been told by our district council that our cottage has an Article 4 direction on it. This restricts our development rights and means that although the cottage isn’t listed, the council does have a lot more say into what we can and can’t do. We will have to seek planning consent for every aspect of this renovation, from the finish to the windows and doors, and so to be safe we are now treating the cottage pretty much as a listed building.
We presented some of the information we managed to collect to our local town council a couple of weeks ago along with our plans, and thankfully they were hugely supportive. This in a way was unsurprising really, as all the locals here in Wotton have shown a fantastic amount of support, but it’s still a HUGE relief for us.
Since then, we have had a meeting with the case officer and conservation officer explaining exactly what our plans are for the cottage and how we are going to save the structure. We now need to supply them with details of the traditional materials and techniques we are/ will be using. This includes information on where we are sourcing the stone from, any technical information regarding weathering etc ( limestone weathers 2 – 4 mm every 100years) as well as the lime mortar. We will specify the traditional finish of the mortar, and give information regarding the pozzolan which is added to strengthen the lime. They would like to see before and after photographs of any repairs we have already done, showing the condition of the deteriorating stonework (that’s where this blog comes in rather handy!) and also how well the new stone blends in with the original (this seems to be one of their main concerns at the moment). We will also need to provide information on our windows and external doors, so it’s good job we haven’t ordered those yet.
So all in all, there’s a lot to collate together, but hopefully this time next week we may have an answer. A decision was set to be made on the 17th July, so we are hoping this will still go ahead. Yet with all the information we are providing, we realise it may take a little longer for the council to look through everything.
Fingers crossed for the 17th!
Emma and Serafin