The bitter war over Blake’s Cottage continues to rage on.
Its thatched roof continues to regrade, though permission has been granted to erect temporary steel supports, and a quote from a local builder obtained, owners the Blake Cottage Trust reported.
The general condition of the Grade II listed Felpham building is a concern for local people, who have also been angered by plans to rip down part of the cottage.
In a recent statement on its website, the Blake Cottage Trust said: “Our initial intent is to remove the later extensions to the cottage and bring it back to a state that William and Catherine Blake would have recognised when they lived and worked their between 1800 and 1803.
“In the liberated space we hope to build a new multifunctional building that will be an architectural jewel in its own right and will draw people to the village of Felpham just to see it.”
It added: “We were seeking an architect who could pare back the accretions that have been added to the building over two centuries to reveal the cottage that Blake would have known and loved.”
It will cost around £50,000 to commission an architect to design the new building, and an announcement on an appointment will be announced this month.
The plans have infuriated Felpham residents.
Writing in her blog, Felpham author Beryl Kingston said: “Now apart from the fact that those of us who live in the village want whatever money there is available in the Blake Cottage Trust kitty to be spent now to start the repairs and not frittered away on competitions for architects, there is also the fact that he is completely wrong about this new building being a draw that will bring visitors to Felpham.
“If visitors come to Blake’s Cottage and I hope they do, they will come to see the house that Blake lived and worked in and anything else built in the garden will simply be – to use (chairman) Tim Heath’s words – an ‘accretion’ that they will hardly notice.”
Conflict has also been caused by the trust’s long-term plans for Blake’s Cottage, after it announced the general public would only have access during set open days, and it would be used primarily for invited guests or as a refuge for artists.
“When it was bought, we were told it had been ‘bought for the nation’, which is why so many of us locally pulled out the stops to raise money for it,” Beryl added. Beryl said she was starting a petition, calling on the trust to start the urgent repair work on the cottage immediately.
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