Urgent waterproofing at listed cafe is approved

Sidmouth Connaught Gardens. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3962-25-12AW. To order your copy of this

Sidmouth Connaught Gardens. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 3962-25-12AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

A listed Connaught Gardens café can be waterproofed with modern means now district bosses have given a planning application the go-ahead.

Recent wet winters at the Clocktower Tearooms mean the leaks have been become ‘extremely problematic and expensive’, and traditional lime mortar pointing has proved ineffective.

The leasehold owners said the repair was a matter of urgency before the winter weather sets in and East Devon District Council (EDDC) has now approved the use of water-repelling coating, Funcosil SNL, to improve and stabilise the structure.

Planning officers noted the café’s ‘extremely exposed position’ and said in 99 per cent of cases the re-pointing it underwent in 2002 would have worked.

But in stormy conditions, driving rain and sea spray combine to saturate the building’s fabric, causing internal damp.

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The officers said most waterproof coatings are inappropriate for listed buildings but tests have shown Funcosil SNL is a ‘non-invasive and sensible’ solution that will allow the building to breathe and release excess moisture.

EDDC granted permission last Thursday. The chemical will be sprayed on a small section of the building to ensure it does not adversely affect the appearance before the work proceeds.

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The Grade-II listed property dates back to the 18th century.

After being mounted with two 130mm guns during World War Two, it became tearooms.

Scaffolding is currently in place for other essential repairs.

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