Straw Thatch Saved at Appeal
Please download and read the three attached pdf documents of appeal decisions safeguarding two ‘combed wheat reed’ and one ‘long straw’ thatched roofs from being thatched either from proposed water reed or unauthentic variant straw thatching methods and materials.
These appeal decisions are significant for the future of ‘combed wheat reed’ and ‘long straw’ for a number of reasons:
• For thatching straw growers in the UK they instill more confidence in the future prospects of the straw growing industry.
• Traditional authentic ‘combed wheat reed’ and ‘long straw’ thatchers will take heart that measures are now being taken to safeguard the use of authentic materials and skill methods on the countries listed buildings remaining straw roofs.
• Listed building thatch-owners of straw thatch can now access better candid thatch information on what is most suitable for their listed property whilst staying within permitted conservation law, instead of being solely & poorly advised into having a re-thatch using inappropriate water reed by thatchers with little empathy for straw thatching.
• The appeals will serve as a warning to thatchers that continue to flout the laws that are designed to protect our built heritage and continuity of traditional skills.
• These appeals set a precedence for refusal of similar future listed building consent applications and any appeals made against a refusal, this will effectively help to confidently guide conservation officers through a framework of decision making right through to planning committee councillor level.
These appeal decisions will help now play a part in reversing the decline in straw thatching and production since the late 19th century when it is estimated that there were somewhere in the region of 800,000 straw thatched buildings, most of these were lost by the 1920’s either by being destroyed, replaced with tiles or occasionally replaced by water reed thatch.
Straw thatching and production growing may have disappeared completely by now had the listing of our older properties not come about in the last quarter of the 20th century, sadly for northern Europe it has now lost all its straw thatch and replaced it with mono-reed thatch. Unfortunately the listing of thatched properties was only partially successful in safeguarding straw roofs, there were a number of reasons for this with local authorities either partially turning a blind eye due to financial restraints but mostly through lack of relevant knowledge of thatch, as a result some counties saw continued loss of remaining straw thatch.
Many thatching straw growers reading this will perhaps have strong feelings about the future of our industry and want to do something about it! Perhaps you know of combed wheat reed or long straw thatched properties that are about to be, or are being re-thatched using water reed and if you are of the mind you could forward on the details to the NTSGA to pass on to the relevant authorities. Please don’t send through details of past discretions, as there are too many (tens of thousands) to deal with.
25 Spring Lane Great Horwood appeal decision 2014.pdf
Park Cottage - appeal decision 2015.pdf
NTSGA representation prior to the appeal decision for Dymonds
Dymonds Dunsford appeal decision 2017.pdf