Plans to rebuild Newton Poppleford cottage decimated by blaze approved

PUBLISHED: 18:30 14 September 2017

The cottage after the fire.

The cottage after the fire.

Archant

Proposals to rebuild a thatched cottage that was decimated by a devastating fire earlier this year have been given the go-ahead.

The cottage before the fire.The cottage before the fire.

Proposals to rebuild a thatched cottage that was decimated by a devastating fire earlier this year have been given the go-ahead.

Benchams Cottage, in Newton Poppleford, was completely destroyed by a blaze at the end of March.

At the time, The Herald reported the incident that was attended by more than 60 fire crews, from across East Devon, who battled the flames throughout the night.

Emergency services were called to the scene on the edge of Harpford Common at 7.20pm on March 28 and by 9pm the cottage was ‘fully engulfed’ by the blaze. At the time the ‘heartbroken’ and devastated owners Mr and Mrs Freeman pledged to rebuild the ‘perfect, chocolate box’ property that was home to their gardener Roy McClymont and his wife Pat for 13 years.

The cottage before the fire.The cottage before the fire.

Following the fire Paul McAllister, group manager for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, spoke to The Herald. He said: “Crews were faced with a difficult thatched-roof fire that was spreading throughout the roof. Due to the condition of the building, which is predominantly timber clad and thatch, we were unable to extinguish within three hours. The fire took hold and we suffered total loss.

“Initially, crews put themselves at risk getting all the occupants’ valuables out. The crews that were here salvaged as much as they could of the owners’ belongings and they were able to bring out items of high sentimental value.”

The only thing left by the fire was the building’s dwarf walls and ground structure.

The original cottage was built in around 1906 and had two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining/hall and a sitting room as well as a bathroom and toilet. The exterior walls were timber and the roof was thatch.

The new cottage will be rebuild using cement cladding which will look like wood for the walls, rather than the timber cladding previously used, and clad and small plain tiles on the roof rather than thatch. The two-story home will keep its Gothic style windows.

The owners said they wished to steer clear of thatch for their own peace of mind.

The plans were approved under the condition that East Devon District Council could see and approve the proposed external building materials before they were used to ensure they were in keeping with the area.

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