Controversial plans for shipping container at Peterborough's Holywell Ponds withdrawn

Almost 60 objections were received to the plans.
The exact location of the container, one sycamore tree would have had to be removed.The exact location of the container, one sycamore tree would have had to be removed.
The exact location of the container, one sycamore tree would have had to be removed.

Plans to place a shipping container at Holywell Ponds nature reserve in Longthorpe have been withdrawn.

The application drew a almost 60 objections on the city council planning portal, with many nearby residents stating that it would be a “blot on the landscape.”

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The Friends of Holywell- which was established over 30 years ago and whose members act as the council’s voluntary stewards- had planned to use the container to store the tools required for the site’s upkeep, outdoor chairs and its kayak.

Volunteers described the size as a small single-car garage, the minimum size it could be to meaningfully allow the continued operation of the project.

Local street artist Nathan Murdoch was also lined up to paint the 15 x 8 ft container to help it blend into the surroundings more.

Plans, however, have now been withdrawn after consultation with Historic England and the Garden’s Trust.

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Historic England stated: “The proposed development of a metal shipping container for storage purposes would introduce a new structure of utilitarian form and industrial character within the registered park and garden, altering the character in this part of the designed landscape.

"This would result in unjustified harm to the significance of the grade II listed Thorpe Hall Estate and garden as well as to the grade II listed ‘Holy Well’ by impacting its setting."

The body therefore advised that the application be withdrawn due to concerns on heritage grounds until the application can be considered alongside a conservation management plan for the whole site.

The Gardens Trust concurred with these views and stated: “We urge that before any further work on the area is undertaken, research and investigation is needed to improve our understanding of the site and its significance and to enable discussions about the council’s development of an appropriate conservation plan.”

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Gardens have stood on the site on the nature reserve for around 200 years but artifacts from digs have been unearthed dating back to the Roman, Medieval and Civil War periods, as well as the 17th – 19th centuries.

The ponds themselves are regarded as some of the best-preserved Medieval fishponds in the country.