17th century building faces demolition for new shops scheme in Doncaster town

Thorne Market Place.
Thorne Market Place.
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One of the oldest buildings in Thorne is set to be demolished as part of a scheme to re-develop part of its town centre.

The former Hurst's shop, on Market Place and the old police house, on Silver Street, look set to be knocked down and replaced by newly built shops on the site.

Doncaster Council approved planning permission for the shops scheme today (Tuesday), and also gave the green light to demolish both buildings, even though the Market Place building was listed.

The scheme was first proposed 12 years ago, but it was put on ice because it was felt that efforts should first be made to find a way to preserve the building on Market Place, which has elements inside dating back from the 17th century.

But Doncaster Council conservation officer Peter Lamb said there were no more options left to pursue to save the building.

Avenues explored had including obtaining grants, and even selling it to a historic buildings trust for £1.

He said: "It didn't stack up and no proper enquiries came through. The building is not structurally sound and nothing has come along as a way forward. We have exhausted all avenues.

"It really hurts me and I wanted it to be saved, but I can't see any way we can save it."

Thorne ward Coun Mark Houlbrook spoke to Doncaster Council planning committee urging it to support the redevelopment plan.

He said: "Over recent years, there has been a big effort to address community concerns about Hursts and the Old Police House on Market Place and Silver Street. The people of Thorne have shown their discontent over its state on many forums.

"I support the recommendation to transform our town centre.

"It is a long time coming and the people of Thorne have waited for this opportunity for a number of years. The building has sat there decaying.

"Confidence has dropped over the years. This will give the people such a buzz."

He said the overwhelming majority of people in Thorne wanted to see the buildings demolished.

Objections to the plans had been received from organisations including the Victorian Society and the Georgian Group, and Doncaster Civic Trust, and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. They wanted the original 17th century building to be saved.

But the committee said the demolition of the listed building could go ahead because it was necessary to achieve substantial public benefits.