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Re-development of 5-7 Kyrle Street - more of John Venn's legacy in danger


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Here we have yet another attempt to destroy part of John Venn's legacy - this time the Masonic Housing Trust are applying to demolish No's 5 and 7 Kyrle Street and erect 9 residential apartments with associated car parking, cycles and refuse stores.  The scale of the Model Garden street will be destroyed. The Masonic Hall is next door.

This is a very mediocre scheme by local architects Hook Mason. The Heritage Statement is unreadable - badly printed - and I have asked for a better version to be put online.
Kyrle Street was built by Rev John Venn in the 1880's and was known as Venn Road at that time. It was an extension of his work at the Steam Mill (now Berrows House) and the adjacent public baths (now the Masonic Hall). Rev John Venn was the vicar of St Peter's Church in Hereford and was the City's greatest benefactor, devoting his life to dispelling poverty, constructing a welfare system for the poor of Hereford through numerous projects, some of which continue to give to this day.
Ten semi-detached houses were laid out along the new Venn Road, designed by architect Thomas Nicholson, (who had worked on many of Venn's projects, including the adjacent public baths as well as the original St James' Church and St Peter's Vicarage in Ledbury Road). This was to be the first model garden estate in Hereford and preceded the Garden City houses in Barr's Court Road (which have their own Conservation Area) by 30 years. The application site was one of those model cottages. Tenants were expected to use their gardens to be self sufficient and to recycle all of their waste.
The two cottages at the eastern end were demolished some years ago to make way for the present car park, but all of the others remain and contribute to an open and pleasant street scene, albeit subject to too much traffic.
This site is in the Central Conservation Area and demands conservation.
If you would like to comment the application number is P163699/F.
Direct link to the application on the Council website http://tinyurl.com/z3ubk7
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Isn't it all so sad. One of the greatest Herefordians and a true great Briton, the Reverand John Venn and all his great and wonderful life's work undone in the blink of an eye by some Tw.at who's nipples were pierced at the very same time as being adorned in his Apron of office during a secret ceremony when gifted the title of the Masonic Lodge Grand Wizard.

To think that it's come to this. The great man and his remarkable works undone by a bunch of dull, unimaginative, thick, unintelligent, incompetent bungling idiots who've more respect for money grabbing chancers than they have for history, heritage, honour and all things good and decent.

The Barstards! Literally, nowadays, using contacts, connections and positions of authority or influence, you can steal tens of thousands of pounds of public money and nobody bats an eyelid, yet some poor sod in a moment of weakness swipes a loaf of bread, gets caught Andy their entire world can come crashing down around them because they stole money in the traditional way instead of doing it through legal, legitimate, highly respectable and extremely profitable big commercial business.

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Yes I saw this last week went to look into it and must have been distracted.  Are the Masonic Hall and the Masonic Housing Trust related to the Masons?  Must get my pecuniary interests sorted in my mind first!


Yes and yes. The Masons own and meet in the Masonic Hall (which was the Public Baths, with water heated by surplus heat from the adjacent Mill - Venn and his colleagues were amazingly inventive).


The Herefordshire Masonic Housing Trust is a charity whose stated aims are defined are 'The relief of poor and/or disabled Masons and/or wifes and widows who are poor and/or disabled in particular the provision of accommodation in Herefordshire.' 


Accounts up to June 2014 show the Trust has some £1m in the bank.


Comments to planning should be submitted by Wednesday 21 December - the public have stopped the demolition of the Working Boys Home and the Records Office (egg on Cllr Bramers face methinks) - let's see if we can do it a third time.

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  • 1 month later...

From a letter written to the Agents today by the Planning Officer;


There has been significant, strong objection to the above application, including the Council’s Conservation Officer, Hereford Society for Aiding the Industrious and Woolhope Naturalists Field Club.  These can be viewed at:

These objections support the advice given at pre-application advice stage.  In summary that:
the dwellings are important both architecturally and historically to the Garden City Movement
the scale and detail of the proposed building takes no account of the local distinctiveness of this part of the conservation area
As a whole it is considered that the scheme would result in harm to the conservation area and locally important buildings, and this is not outweighed by the benefit of providing seven additional units even in the context of a 5 year housing land supply shortfall.
Please can you confirm if you wish to withdraw the application, within 7 days.
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Yet another charity doing rather well


Having been acquainted with a couple of masons, from different lodges, who fell on hard times I can confirm that in both cases their so called "brothers" didn't want to know and did the square root of sod all to help them out.  My feeling is that the whole masonic thing is  about celebrating itself doing well and doesn't have much time for those who fall by the wayside. The Trust seems to have rather a lot of capital and it would be interesting to see how much it spends in a year and on what.

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