image credit: Pevensey Courthouse Museum
The building has been standing, although not in its present state, since medieval times. It has survived hundreds of years of use and abuse and should be preserved in its original condition for the enjoyment of the public for hundreds more
I wonder how many of your readers are aware that the Pevensey Town Trust (PTT) have got an application to change the integrity of the Gaol house and build a toilet in the downstairs area and put a roof over the old exercise yard.
It is imperative that if you object to this, as I have done in a letter to Wealden District Council, you voice your feelings by the 7th Jan.
Letter to Wealden Council
I most emphatically oppose part of the above application on the following grounds.
I have no objection to the windows being repaired/replaced, nor do I have any objections to the stairs and west wall being repaired, however I do most strongly object to the erection of a roof over the courtyard and the construction of a toilet and sink in the exercise yard of the gaol.
My objection to the roof over the court yard.
Any construction will need to be fixed to existing structures and therefore any fixing will inherently damage the building.
The floor is constructed from bricks laid on earth and therefore has a natural capacity for drainage and normal “housekeeping” will maintain the area, as it has for hundreds of years. To construct a roof over the old exercise yard would alter the initial intention of the area. As a tourist visiting such a place it is important to see the history of the building and by changing the structure one is changing the integrity and the original intent.
My objection to the toilet in the first floor
The building was never intended to be a normal dwelling place and therefore no WC was ever fitted. So, once again, I am saying that the construction of any form of water closet goes way beyond the original purpose and use of the gaol area of the court house. The integrity of the building must be maintained or listed building status means nothing.
One argument for the installation was that volunteers NEED this facility whilst working at the museum. I must point out that there are three (3) toilet facilities within a maximum distance of 100 yards. As the museum is only open a short time during the year and for a limited time each day the installation is an overkill for such a building.
Any construction, no matter how small, will damage the fragile centuries old building and anything beyond general maintenance is potentially damaging.
All pipework will need to be brought in from outside and discharged to the outside, therefore the walls will be penetrated which will cause significant damage to the building. This of course goes against the intention of Listed Building status and I feel that WDC will leave themselves vulnerable to litigation, or set a persistence for future applications, if they approve this part of the application. What next, a coffee shop?
These two alterations to the structure of the building, if approved, will change the original and historic intention and the building integrity forever and no amount of action will truly reverse any damage that will be done.
As stated in part of the application, the building has been standing, although not in its present state, since medieval times. It has survived hundreds of years of use and abuse and should be preserved in its original condition for the enjoyment of the public for hundreds more.
I therefore respectfully submit to you my objections and hope that you consider them carefully.