Forge museum plans passed

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FRIENDS of Chain Bridge Forge have come under fire for sweeping away two-thirds of the real forge while converting a building at 32 High Street, Spalding, to a working museum open to the public.

Although supporting the aims of the Friends, Spalding and District Civic Society criticised the internal layout of the building and suggested changes that might preserve more of the original layout.

Coun Bob Creese told South Holland’s planning committee he shared the society’s concerns and wondered if the council could ask the Friends of Chain Bridge Forge to adopt the society’s recommendations.

But planning manager Paul Jackson said it was an unlisted building and the council had no power to intervene.

He said: “The whole contents could be removed and sold on eBay.”

Mr Jackson said the applicants should be applauded for retaining the building, adding: “I think the civic society should take the positive rather than the negative view of life.”

Planning committee chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said the council had no powers but it was open for individual councillors, if they so wished, to write to the Friends of Chain Bridge Forge.

Coun Chris Brewis told the committee: “Some of us have been here long enough to remember a time when this building was going to be demolished and got rid of.”

The committee unanimoulsy passed the forge application for alterations to include a new door, flue, toilet extractor and a bracket for a hanging sign.

l Full planning permission for conversion of the building to a blacksmith’s workshop and associated working museum was given in August this year.

The Friends aim to open the 19th Century workshop to the public by June next year.

The forge will be the centrepiece of a museum containing displays about the history of the workshop and of a time when everything was mended at the local forge.