Build plans divide village community

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A PLANNING application to restore an old cottage has divided a community, with almost 25 people having lodged formal objections.

Paul and Sheilagh Molyneux bought their grade II listed 16th century cottage in The Street, Shimpling, in 2003.

Attached to its right side is an outbuilding belonging to their neighbours, Vera and Bill Cooper, which is currently used as a garage, workshop and store room.

But the Coopers, both aged 79, wish to transform it into a two-storey annex with parking so that their daughter, Sally Mapston, can live there and care for them.

Mr Molyneux, a hospital consultant, believes the build would ‘demean’ the beauty of his thatched cottage.

“This has nothing to do with losing the value of our house, it’s to do with nothing else than that we love this house and we want to preserve it,” he said.

Mrs Coopers’ home has been in her family since 1921, when her grandparents bought it.

The outbuilding she and her husband want to develop did used to be two-storeys, the inglenook chimney, brick oven, wash house and staircase are still visible.

“I think my grandmother would be upset to think there are problems with this and I think she’d be pleased that we were putting it back to how it was,” said Mrs Cooper.

Mrs Mapston said: “My dad’s not in the best of health, he’s quite frail, and my mum can’t cope.

“I just want to be here to support them if anything happens. I’ve got a house and don’t need to move but I want to support my parents – is that such a crime?”

Babergh District Council will decide on the application by June 10.