Building of the Month March 2018: 26 Market Place, March, Cambridgeshire

26 Market Place has origins dating back to the 16th or 17th century.  Although it has been altered over the centuries, its original lobby entry survives inside and the original location of the central entrance door is discernible on the exterior.  Inside, the chimney stack is huge and dominates the interior, rising to the full height of the building. 

It has had various uses including as an annex to the adjoining Grade II listed Ye Olde Griffin Hotel, the linking catwalk for which can still be seen. While not listed, Historic England have noted that it has a “high level of local significance as one of the earliest surviving buildings on the Market Place”.

Five years ago, an application to demolish was turned down and two years ago an application to convert to a maisonette and studio flat was withdrawn.  Last year, when 26 Market Place was added to our buildings at risk register, it was on the market being promoted as a site for redevelopment.  There is now another application for demolition (F/YR18/0148/F) which has been submitted with plans to replace the building with a residential block.  

SAVE strongly opposes the proposed demolition of this important local building, especially as it stands in a conservation area.  The application cites “the poor state of repair, uneconomic internal plan and lack of modern facilities” in seeking to justify the loss of this “older style property”.  SAVE condemns this total lack of appreciation for locally important heritage buildings and the factors that are relevant in assessing their significance.

This building could be brought back into use for a number of purposes and any redevelopment should respect, indeed celebrate and reveal, the significance of this building and its history.