Medieval Tithe Barn in Fareham appears like its ‘in the middle of a motorway’ after ‘horrific’ tarmacking job

COUNCILLORS have slammed a ‘horrific’ tarmacking job that leaves a medieval barn looking ‘like it’s in the middle of a motorway.’

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 6:19 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 11:34 am

Kevin Fraser, who is chairman of Titchfield Festival Theatre, applied for retrospective planning permission after he had new tarmac laid around the Great Barn in Tichtfield, the only Grade I-listed building in Fareham borough.

The 500-year old barn now appears as if it’s stranded in ‘the middle of a motorway,’ according to Nick Walker who is chairman of Fareham’s planning committee.

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday, he said: ‘I am absolutely and totally surprised that anyone would do that kind of work to a barn - let alone a Grade I-listed barn.’

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The 15th century barn surrounded by the new tarmac.

The planning committee voted unanimously to refuse the retrospective application, with councillors labelling the work terrible, horrific, and abhorrent.

A planning officer told the committee that Mr Fraser had been advised ‘not to carry out the work’.

The tarmac is ‘totally inappropriate, significantly harming the history interest’ of the Tithe Barn and the Titchfield Abbey Conservation Area, according to an assessment provided to the council by Historic England.

The work around the wedding and function venue was carried out in March, as ‘urgent upgrading due to surface deterioration’ was required according to Ian Donohue, who made a deputation at the meeting on behalf of Mr Fraser.

The 15th century barn surrounded by the new tarmac.

He said the applicant ‘was somewhat surprised the application was recommended for refusal’.

Mr Donohue added: ‘The setting is much more than the immediate area around the barn.’

But Titchfield resident Jayne Keepence compared the new barn’s new surroundings to a supermarket car park.

She said: ‘It looks awful - if you pained white lines down there, it would look like a Sainsbury’s car park.

‘So we’re really pleased with the council’s decision.

‘We just need to make sure the council doesn’t sit on their hands and that they act on the issue.’

Building work made before a retrospective planning application carries no penalty, Mr Walker said.

He said: ‘It’s not illegal to put in a retrospective application. But it is a pain.’

Mr Fraser was approached for comment.