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New owners want to open painted window

Talking about Nailsea town


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The new owners of the funny old three-storey house called Fairview at North Street, Nailsea, want to replace its painted window with a modern glazed sash.

The historic property went on the market last summer and eventually sold for £265,000 - £85,000 under its guide price to private buyers Terry Simpkins and Henrietta Scott-Fordham.

Hunter Leahy estate agent Mark Hunt said at the time: “Although in need of complete renovation this Grade II listed detached residence has a wealth of character and stunning gardens.

“Over the years the extensive grounds were used as market gardens and the outbuildings as the Nailsea Bakery complete with the original bread oven.”

Sited in a conservation area opposite where the old fire station once stood listed building consent has been sought for new windows, roof lights, doors, bathrooms and fireplaces.

But although neighbours have welcomed its modernisation Nailsea town councillors are against losing the painted window which has become a local landmark.

At its March meeting Nailsea Town Council highways and environment committee agreed to leave the decision for the changes to North Somerset Council conservation officer but added ‘the blanked out painted window to the front of the property should not be removed’.

English Heritage assistant inspector Jacqueline Martinez said: “We welcome the prospect of this building being repaired and restored to a functioning family dwelling.

“The greatest aesthetic alteration to the building would be the opening of a currently blank window on the front elevation.”

A window tax was in force in Englandduring the 18th and 19th centuries.

To avoid paying some houses from the period can be seen to have bricked-up window-spaces ready to be glazed or reglazed at a later date.

In England and Wales it was introduced in 1696 and was repealed in 1851.

But with no details as to whether the painted window was an original feature or added later Ms Martinez called for more information.

Next door neighbour Chris Horder has told the planners: “Having lived next door to 11 Fairview for 16 years it is very pleasing to see progress on this fine old building start at last.

“There have been some very positive and important structural changes all ready and I look forward to my new neighbour making a fine job of it.”

But doctor Tim Southwood who lives at Union Street said: “The blind window is a feature associated with avoiding glass tax.

“It is an important feature of the front elevation and therefore must be retained.

“There is a similar feature at St Peter’s Hospice High Street charity shop.”

Mike Thomas, of St Andrews Close, said he was ‘glad to see that the building is to be preserved’ while expressing concern for nesting swifts he had seen entering the roof space at Fairview.

He said: “I believe it is important to maintain traditional nesting sites either by maintaining the existing roof design or by providing specialist swift nest boxes.

“North Street would not be the same without the annual spectacle of the swooping and screaming swifts.”

However, Mr Horder says this has already been done with five large nesting boxes put under the gutter on the back elevation.

He said: “It is very impressive and Terry who is a builder has been working all hours to turn the house into a home.”

The four-bed house with water well in the back garden has extensive views from its upper floors across to Tickenham – hence its name.

Former North Somerset district reporter Nigel Heath wrote about the window in a 1976 edition of the Clevedon Mercury. 

Pictured top is Fairview covered in scaffolding as the renovations begin.

Riight from top are the house how it was and the (peeling) painted window up close.

The painted window at the St Peter's Hospice charity shop at Nailsea High Street features a glassblower to depict Nailsea's industrial past.

Thanks to Richard Parker for photographs.

Dissent was expressed by one solitary voice at the money spent on the old Glassworks site at Nailsea Town Council annual town meeting on Wednesday night.

Trendlewood resident John Thompson complained bitterly that the £195,000 public works loan to renovate the historic industrial site would in fact cost Nailsea tax payers £400,000 over 40 years when interest is added.

This was the second year in succession Mr Thompson took the town council to task at the annual meeting on how it spent its money.

Last year he also filed an unsuccessful maladministration complaint with the local government ombudsman about cost to restore the medieval Tithe Barn.

But the meeting heard the Tithe Barn was now making a profit mainly due to the number of wedding ceremonies held in the historic building which dates back to the 1480.

Nailsea Local History Society representative Trevor Bowen was widely applauded when he gave a potted history of the fight to preserve the town’s ancient past including the Glassworks and Tithe Barn both of which has been subjected to many failed schemes.

Mr Bowen congratulated the town council on landscaping the Glassworks and creating a ‘town centre oases’.

Chairman Clare Hunt explained that the council’s hands were tied by English Heritage and the contamination of the land to how the work was carried out.

She lamented that although Mr Thompson chose this moment to make his voice heard he never joined the democratic process by standing for council himself.

Mr Thompson said: “I am here tonight to ask questions like I did last year about this council’s lack of transparency the reason being I actually care about this town and I am concerned about its long term future.”

Mr Thompson maintained that the bill should have been picked up by North Somerset Council who inherited the site from the defunct Avon County Council.

He called the finished Glassworks project ‘a green monstrosity’ and said the town council is now being urged to ‘fork out a further £40,000’ to save the ‘at risk’ Middle Engine Pit.

This is another historic site which should be the responsibility of a district council which chooses to spend the bulk of its money in Weston-super-Mare or £85,000 on iPads for its councillors, added Mr Thompson.

This nearly gave Jeremy Blatchford apoplexy but he was ably defended by Mary Ponsonby who had been chairman when the town council moved from Church House to the Tithe Barn.

Mrs Ponsonby asked the audience to look around and say they thought the council had acted ‘irresponsibly’ taking over the Tithe Barn.

She added: “In taking over the Glassworks site for £1 from North Somerset Council we did only what Nailsea residents had asked us to do.

“The best that could be done has been done to preserve the archaeological remains.”

Mrs Hunt said the council had been mandated by community tax payers in the parish plan consultation when sorting out the Glassworks site which they voted as the number one priority.

She added when people buy their homes they don’t quote the cost to include mortgage interest.

More than 100 people attended the meeting but the audience was mostly made up of those who had come to collect their grant cheques.

Grants totalling more than £35,000 went to a number of charities, self-help groups and those supporting the arts and young people.

Orchard Road resident Alan Cook asked when it could hope to see work start on Sycamore House and retired librarian Judith Codrington complained about the ‘quagmire’ due to an overflowing ditch on the footpath from The Perrings to Backwell Lake.

Both were assured matters were in hand and that the Lidl planning application is due to be considered in June.

The expansion of Scotch Horn to include swimming pool, police station and youth centre is very likely and not a pipe dream, added Mr Blatchford..

Environmentalist Pat Gilbert said another litter pick was badly needed at the Station Road car park as among the dumped rubbish she had seen a ‘filthy baby’s nappy’.

To read the full report given by Mrs Hunt click HERE.

For list of who received what grants click HERE.

For the financial reports and other legal documents go to the town council website by clicking HERE.

THE online community newspaper for Nailsea people, their family and their friends

May 2015 news 1
Nailsea High Street.jpg

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