“Decision is a victory for common sense”

Green Close Cottage Gembling.'NBFP PA1414-2b
Green Close Cottage Gembling.'NBFP PA1414-2b

A mum-of-two is celebrating after winning the fight to save her historic cottage from demolition.

Tracy McNelis has now thanked all those who supported her in challenging a council planning decision which ruled she must demolish Green Close Cottage in Grembling, near Foxton-on-the-Wolds.

South Beach'Jane Evison Celebrates Bridlington Getting back its Blue Flag award'PA1220-9b

South Beach'Jane Evison Celebrates Bridlington Getting back its Blue Flag award'PA1220-9b

The irony is that it was Miss McNelis herself who originally applied to planning officers to have it demolished because it had flooded twice.

She made a successful planning application to build a new house on higher land at the rear of the cottage, with the agreement that the cottage would be demolished on completion of the new property.

But as a result of new flood defences put in the place nearby by East Riding of Yorkshire Council it was found that the cottage was no longer at risk from flooding. The problem was, by then, that the building of the new house was already well underway.

She added: “It was a very difficult situation. I knew the cottage had to come down because that was what was stated in the planning application. But the situation changed when the council put in a dyke in front of the property which will divert flood water.”

Meanwhile, local estate agents Dee and Atkinson told Miss McNelis to seek a second opinion about knocking down the cottage. Driffield planning consultants Edwardson Associates helped her mount a legal challenge to vary the planning condition.

But East Riding of Yorkshire Council planning officers stuck to their guns and refused to amend the original application that the cottage had to be demolished.

Miss McNelis also had the support of the local parish council, and a total of 37 local residents wrote letters of support for the cottage which is one of the oldest in the village.

She was also backed by ward councillors Jane Evison and Jonathan Owen, who both made representations on her behalf last Thursday at a meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee.

Following a lengthy debate, the decision was finally made that the cottage should be allowed to exist.

Coun Owen said: “This was an unique case and with the risk of flooding vastly reduced it was only common sense to allow this delightful cottage to be saved from the bulldozers and also protect the community environment of this delightful hamlet.

“I am delighted at the outcome and also the very reasoned debate undertaken by the committee. There were no winners or losers, just common sense.”

Miss McNelis and her two sons, aged seven and 20, moved into the new house this week. She says she will now rent out the cottage to a local couple, who are about to get married.

The cottage, which is one of the oldest in the hamlet, has a ancient well at the front and was found to have walls made of chalk, believed to have been quarried locally, which were plastered over with horse hair.

Coun Jane Evison said, “Every planning application must be judged on its own merits and the circumstances. The condition to demolish Green Close Cottage, once the new build was completed, had changed completely. There was no longer a threat of flooding and it would have been criminal to demolish a beautiful old property which plays an important role in the Gembling streetscene and also has historical value when there was no longer any need. Saving Green Close Cottage was a good common sense decision and I am very pleased.”

The flood defences were put in by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and championed by the local parish council in order to protect wider properties in Gembling.