A POTTING shed older than most of the buildings in Malvern has been saved from demolition.

Planning permission for a new house on the site of the brick shed in the grounds of Barnards Green House was granted last November, and owner Sue Nicholls had since applied to knock the shed down so the new building could be built.

But conservationists in the town had protested against the plans, saying the shed, which was built in the 1830s, was of too much historic value to be lost.

Members of Malvern Hills District Council’s Southern Area Development Management Committee discussed the plans at a meeting on Wednesday, March 18, where they heard residents in the Barnards Green area and throughout the town were concerned about the plans.

Dr Donald Ross, representing the residents of neighbouring Hastings Pool, said he and his neighbours were firmly against the plans.

“The potting shed is a small but significant building that pre-dates much of Malvern,” he said.

“In its day there were many examples like it, but now few remain.

“You can stop that decline.”

Although the shed itself is not a listed building, Barnards Green House, which was once home of British Medical Association founder Sir Charles Hastings, is Grade II listed.

Planning consultant Marcus Cleaver said Mrs Nicholls had been told by planning officers when she applied for permission to build the new home she would not need a separate application to demolish the shed, which was damaged in a fire in 2005, but this had since been reversed.

“My client now finds herself in the position of finding herself with a planning permission she is not able to implement,” he said.

Cllr Melanie Baker said the application had proved “a very emotive issue”.

“A building is not just bricks and mortar,” he said.

“It holds historical information and values.

“My greatest concern is that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“I for one feel I cannot be part of destroying part of our heritage.”

Cllr Clive Smith said he had initially been sceptical about the value of the shed and concerns raised by conservation groups in the town, including the Malvern Civic Society, but after looking more closely at the issue had come to understand why people were upset about the plans.

“When I saw this on the front page of the Malvern Gazette I thought the civic society and others had gone collectively mad,” he said.

“But now I can see why it’s arousing such passions and why people feel so strongly about it.”

Although members voted to refuse the demolition, Mrs Nicholls is expected to appeal the decision.

In a statement issued after the meeting the residents of Hastings Pool called the decision "a triumph for democracy".

"The councillors considered the issues carefully, presenting both sides of the argument, and voted overwhelmingly to refuse permission to demolish the shed," they said. "There were no objections. A big thank you to them all.

"It was an important decision to protect the precedent of preserving listed buildings and the rich heritage of Malvern."