A view of Marsworth Yard from the Club's Weaver collection
NB Victoria at Marsworth in 2002
Submitted to Aylesbury Vale District Council - 22nd November 2009
Re: British Waterways Church Lane Marsworth Buckinghamshire HP23 4LZ
Demolition of existing buildings and erection of 14 dwellings and associated works
I wish to object to this planning proposal on behalf of the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club – a national waterways organisation of which I am chairman.
The proposals as outlined will radically alter the perspective and feel of this important historic waterways location. The plan proposes to cram 14 modern style residential dwellings onto this relatively small site in a way that does nothing to preserve the relationship between the canal junction, the surrounding listed structures and the nature of the village in which it lies.
The recent heritage audit concludes: “there are a number of industrial/landscape features which are worthy of retention, such as the ‘Cowans Sheldon and Co.’ crane which characterises the operational wharf and adds to its sense of identity. The open yard and hard canal edge are also strong features of the wharf and should be retained and enhanced ensuring the ‘spirit of the wharf’ can live on through new development.” There is absolutely no sense of the ‘spirit of the wharf’ in this proposal. If the planned houses were placed further back from the canal edge, an open and attractive paved ‘wharf’ area could be preserved, including the crane, and retain some of the feel of this famous canal junction. The triangular shape of the site could easily allow this and such a feature would surely enhance the attractiveness of the site to both residents and the canal user. The report also points out that the two storey ex-carpenters shop is unique in the village and some more sympathetic attempt could have been made to retain all or elements of this building into the redevelopment – the surrounding houses could have been designed to reflect the attractive style of this building and retain the organic feel of the site.
In many other canal site developments, considerable efforts have been made to build modern houses that create the feel of a Victorian canalside perspective – no such attempt has been made here as the style of houses proposed would be more at home in a south coast seaside resort than in a classic Chiltern village.
P A Prettyman
Chair, Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club