It is not widely known but Historic England submitted a further response to Walsall Council on 29 November 2016, about the Great Barr Hall and parkland planning application. The letter strongly recommends that the application is refused, some of Historic England’s key statements in their letter have been highlighted below:
“The amount of proposed development, put forward as an enabling development, is very substantial and will cause serious harm to the registered landscape and serious harm to the listed building. Having reviewed the information submitted in support of the application Historic England is not convinced that it demonstrates that the proposed enabling development is the minimum necessary or secures the future of the heritage assets.
“The recent regrading of the hall from Grade ll* to Grade ll prompts a re-evaluation of the relative significance of the hall and the landscape putting them on a par with each other and placing more emphasis on the latter as the setting for the former.”
The importance of this re-evaluation that the Hall and Parkland on now on a par with each other, in fact places more emphasis on the Parkland as a setting for the Hall, thus making justification for enabling development (the building of houses on the greenbelt to fund the restoration of the hall) more difficult.
“The amount of development is very substantial and while the proposal has the potential to conserve some aspect of the heritage assets, stage one will cause very serious harm to the registered landscape and serious harm to the Grade ll listed hall and stage two will cause further harm to the hall.”
You can view a full copy of Historic England’s letter here. It’s definitely worth a read as it sets out Historic England’s comprehensive view on the whole application. We now wait and see what will happen next in relation to this planning application, as it still rests with the Planning Team at Walsall Council who have been attempting to deal with it since 2012.