‘It would break my heart’ - Fierce opposition to building plans in former grounds of historic house
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Gorleston residents are “heartbroken” by the revival of plans to build within the former grounds of an historic house after developers lodged an appeal.
The proposal to construct a single story building in the former grounds of Koolunga House, with the creation of access to High Road by demolishing part of the existsing boundary wall, was submitted in March 2019.
After an immense number of objections from the community, Great Yarmouth Borough Council refused planning permission earlier this year.
They said the plans would damage the character of conservation area and Grade II listed building - as well as contravening tree preservation orders.
But on May 14 the applicant, Herringfleet Developments, submitted an appeal to the government’s Planning Inspectorate.
Great Yarmouth Council sent an email on May 18 informing those who had previously raised objections.
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One woman to receive the email, Corrine Miller, has lived in Gorleston for 66 years.
Her father was a good friend of Eric Parkinson - the optician who bought the house in the 70s and left it in his will to Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
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She said: “My father planted over 400kg of bulbs in the grounds, and Mr Parkinson had a gate leading from his house on Addison Road into Koolunga grounds.
“He absolutely loved that garden and would hate to see it rode over rough-shod.
“He’d also hate the fact that developers are turning our beautiful landmarks into nothing but shells.
“It would break my heart to see part of Koolunga’s wall demolished.“To me, it’s always been part of the house - they are inseparable from one another.
“Although the council didn’t think Mr Parkinson’s wish to turn the building into a museum was viable, I still think it should be protected - even if we can’t see it.”
She added: “My message to people is this: get objecting.”
Robert Smith, the freeholder at Koolunga House, said he was disappointed that a “damning rejection of the plans” could somehow be challenged.
He said: “These grounds are a major heritage asset in Gorleston and many people feel connected to them on a deep level.
“Removal of part of the wall would result in a loss of identity and devalue Koolunga’s unique architecture.”
Kelvin Lovett, director of Herringfleet Developments, was approached but declined to comment.
You can make representations for or against the appeal here.