PLANS FOR REINSTATEMENT OF FIRE DAMAGED PROPERTIES

Plans for the reinstatement of fire damaged properties at 6 and 8 Church Street have been submitted to South Somerset District Council. The Original Health Centre and vacant shop next door were extensively damaged by fire on December 28th, 2017. The fire which started in a room above the massage centre was a major incident for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, with 8 fire appliances on site from Crewkerne, Yeovil, Martock, Ilminster, Chard, Beaminster, a Command Support Unit from Street and an Aerial Ladder Platform from Yeovil, as firefighters fought to control the blaze and prevent it from spreading to the stables at the back of the Swan Inn. Guests at the George Hotel were evacuated in the early hours of the morning, as a safety precaution with the wind blowing smoke down Church Street and into Market Street. The main road from Chard was closed in Church Street for around 10 hours.

Listed Building Consent has been sought to reinstate the properties with great consideration given of their original historical status in the town. The two shops with ancillary accommodation over, were converted from a single property, which was built in the early 19th Century of limestone rubble with stepped stone coping to slate roof, brick stacks to gable ends and having a Ham Hill stone plinth between windows on ground floor level. It has Grade 11 listed building status. The extensive damage caused by the fire, included the loss of the entire roof structures, second floor to number 8 and rear of first floor to number 8, both first floor and second floor staircases, windows to first floor level burnt and failed to the front of the building and glazing to shop window damaged. Although the shop at number 6 was less damaged, the property lost its roof structure and first floor ceiling but retained its staircase and first floor structure.

As a requirement of the emergency works needed to be carried out after the fire, the chimney to the east gable at number 6 was demolished due to its instability. The owner of the properties is working closely with the Conservation Officer at SSDC through an agent, to ensure that they are restored to their pre-fire state and include the period features. Crewkerne Town Council have recommended approval of the application for Listed Building Consent, subject to the approval of the Conservation Officer and South Somerset District Council are expected to make a decision within the next week.

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