The planning application to demolish Bennett Cottage, near the top of Mayfield Rd in Mayfield has yet to be determined (a decision has been now been postponed twice).   If this application is approved it will have far reaching consequences.  Please object to this application –  registering your objection is as simple as sending an email (see the notes at the bottom of this article).

We don’t have an exact date for the cottage, but it looks 17th or 18th Century.  The cottage also includes a much older medieval barn which dates from 1100 to 1300 according to a CBA database of cruck framed buildings.  For more information about cruck framed buildings, please see here.  Needless to say, we should be looking after the cruck buildings we have left.

We were gutted to discover that what seems to be the remaining cruck in the barn has been removed.   We found this from evidence in a recent report from Historic England, who have inspected the building and declined it for listing.  The circumstances surrounding the removal of the cruck needs urgent investigation as it could have a direct bearing on this planning application. (Edit – since this article was first published a previous occupant has gone on record to SCC planning dept to confirm the cruck was in place immediately prior to the Ruslings taking ownership).

 

Developers Robert Rusling and his wife Johanna are directors of Ackroyd and Abbott Ltd , a company with £19 Million assets.   They have bought Bennett Cottage in order to demolish it and replace with the very modern looking building shown below.  The area is greenbelt and the developers hope to get permission because it is a ‘replacement dwelling house’ – one of the few kinds of new build sometimes allowed in Green Belt.

The planning application makes no reference to the cruck barn at all.  Being such successful developers, they – or at least their agent -should know that a planning application such as this should be preceded by a survey of the local archaeological records via SYAS.  If that had been undertaken it would have revealed the cruck barn on this piece of land and they would have understood its significance, which is a potential obstacle to this application.

The threat to the character of our treasured rural landscapes

Quite apart from what would be a sad loss of characterful vernacular architecture, this planning application presents a potentially bigger threat.  Mayfield is a very picturesque and sensitive area which seems like the heart of the Peak District and yet is ten minutes drive from the city centre.   So much of the charm of the area is wrapped in the characterful old stone farm buildings, scattered around a patchwork of fields bordered by dry stone walls and narrow country lanes.  It is an historic farming landscape which has so far managed to survive with its character intact.  

If this application were approved, what would there be to stop modern looking buildings replacing other characterful old buildings in this historic landscape?  Clearly there is is risk of setting a precedent here, and SCC planning dept need to hold firm, even if it is likely that Government planning inspectors would be called in following a refusal.

If Bennett Cottage is lost and replaced with this modern building, we will lose more than a sense of the openness of the green space.   Our local planning laws reflect this, for the area is an Area of High Landscape Value.  UDP GE8 (Areas of High Landscape Value and the Peak National Park) states that “protection and enhancement of the landscape is the overriding consideration in these areas.”   National Planning Policy, for all its pro-development agenda has to have protections built in to protect our treasured landscapes.  What it has to say is short and sweet, but it is there and cannot be argued with:

NPPF 109 (excerpt):

“The planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by:

  • protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, geological conservation interests and soils

That seems to put the ball in the park of our local planning policy, which is clear and emphatic about the importance of the character of our areas of High Landscape Value.

“Dramatic and contemporary” is how the application describes the proposed building, before denying it will have much impact on surroundings.  Yet it will have an impact – the site is clearly visible from nearby roads, even in the height of summer.  Moreover, there are plans to remove some trees, and that the trees in this area will lose their leaves in Winter, it clearly is going to make quite an impact on the locality.

In an urban context, or where there wouldn’t be so much harm to the valued character of an area, the design could work,  but it is far from remarkable.  Also,with a 16m x 8m swimming pool, it is certainly no ‘Eco-home’ as some have described it.

Mayfield has changed very little in two hundred years, due in large part to the efforts of SCC planning department so far to protect the character of the area.   In recent years, whatever changes there have been to existing properties in the area have been made using sympathetic forms and materials.  

Please help send a strong message to Sheffield Council Planning Department to hold firm on this and reject this application.

Objecting is as simple as sending an email to the planning officer dealing with this case:  bob.turner@sheffield.gov.uk   – if you email please mention  17/02756/FUL

You can also can register on the planning website, and submit your comment that way.  Search for the application under 17/02756/FUL  You should then be updated with a decision and any significant developments with the application.  

The official deadline for comments is now 29th September, but most likely any comments sent before this goes to committee on 3rd October will be considered.

What points should you make?

There are only certain points that you can make that ‘count’ as valid ‘material’ planning considerations, but you shouldn’t worry too much about what you say here as most people’s objections in this case are valid considerations – to do the character of the area and the nature of the new design, loss of heritage and the effect on views.  It is more important that what you say comes from you and isn’t copied from elsewhere.  This article includes a list of valid planning considerations. Mayfield, surprisingly, is not a Conservation Area.

Please tell your friends about what is happening and share this post.

Bennett Cottage, Mayfield
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4 thoughts on “Bennett Cottage, Mayfield

  • September 27, 2017 at 8:14 pm
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    Do not demolish this wonderful building.You could build the modern eyesore anywhere.It doesn’t mean you have to knock an historic building and replace it

    Reply
  • September 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm
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    When Townhead farm was sold ,it had a crook barn and it had to be preserved , and was done very nicely incorporated into a bedroom with a glass front , so it can be seen from the road . from see Townhead farm crook on Google.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm
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    … if you want the thin end of the wedge to be the replacement of a traditional building completely at peace with its surroundings replaced by this ghastly monstosity of a soviet style office block without any architectural merit… and don’t kid yourself’s this “thing” will not be the last… other Philistine “developers” like the tasteless Rustings will be blotting the landscape with more hideous Architects Pipe dreams that have no place in the Mayfield Valley… who knows one of the Chinatown developers may fancy a nice Red Pagoda home with some gold dragons… why not..? For god sake stop it now… Sheffield’s not got much left to crow about apart from its beautiful surroundings, HANDS OFF MAYFIELD VALLEY.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm
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    Such a beautiful cottage why destroy it have some back bone sheffield councillors do the right thing and start to save our heritage of sheffield before its too late

    Reply

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