Gothic house in Cottenham with crumbling masonry and broken glass leads to fine for owners

Couple fined for allowing a Gothic house in Cottenham High Street to fall into disrepair.

Couple fined for allowing a Gothic house in Cottenham High Street to fall into disrepair. - Credit: Archant

A couple must pay more than £1,100 in fines and costs for not carrying out essential repairs to stop a Grade Two listed building in Cottenham falling into disrepair.

South Cambridgeshire District Council prosecuted the pair because of the dilapidated condition of the 17th century gothic house on Cottenham High Street.

It was left with patches of crumbling masonry and broken glass which could pose a risk to the public if action wasn’t taken, they said.

Chimney stacks on the property’s roof were left damaged, and vegetation reaching its roof was left uncleared. Building control experts will continue to monitor the state of the building to help protect the public.

Councillor Neil Gough, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for environmental health and licensing, and member for Cottenham, said: “The couple prosecuted in this case were given ample opportunity to fix the issues with this property – but chose not to.

“They have a duty to maintain this historic building and as one of Cottenham’s local members I will be checking to make sure that they meet these responsibilities.

“We only take legal action as a last resort and always try to work with people to avoid this. However, in this case we were left with no choice so make no apology for taking robust action.”

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Councillor Eileen Wilson said: “The gothic house is a prominent feature of Cottenham and dear to the heart of residents. People in Cottenham have been upset that the owners of such a special building have allowed it to fall into such a state of disrepair.

“They will be pleased that positive action has been taken to require the owners to put this right. Along with Cllr Gough, I will be keeping an eye on progress to restore this house.”

The prosecution was brought by the council after the owners were served with a legal notice in February.

This deadline was extended by an additional month, but no remedial works were carried out.

The council’s planning enforcement team had already been working with the owners before this legal notice was issued to try and get them to carry out basic essential maintenance work.

A notice of this type, under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, can be served by councils when it is felt buildings or land are having a harmful effect on an area.

The case was heard at Cambridge Magistrates Court last week when Franco Basso and Katherine Fleming, from Windsor Road in Cambridge, were told to pay a total of £1,147 in fines and costs. They both pleaded guilty to breaching the Section 215 notice.

The owners have since confirmed they are making arrangements for the work to be carried out.