A Tempest is brewing in Shakespeare’s home town after a charity converted a historic building at Anne Hathaway’s cottage – into an ice cream kiosk.
The local council has ordered the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to apply for retrospective planning permission after it carried out renovations at the property where the Bard’s wife lived.
The trust, which is responsible for the upkeep of the Shakespeare houses in and around Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks., gutted a Grade I listed thatched building earlier this year.
Measuring 15ft by 15ft, the barn was used as a pea shed in the early part of the last century before being converted into a snack kiosk and cafe for tourists in April this year.
But an investigation into the building work has revealed the trust failed to apply for planning permission to change the use of the barn.
Roy Steele, programme manager for the trust, said today that the shed was converted because they did not know it was Grade I listed.
He added: “We have been requested, in effect, to put things right by putting in a retrospective planning application.
“The fact the pea shed was Grade I listed was new information.
“The shed is not a Tudor build and was probably erected sometime in the first half of the 20th century.
“In April, we were confident that we wouldn’t need a planning application.”
But the trust fell foul of planning laws when Stratford District Council informed them that because the shed was inside the site of the 12-bedroomed cottage which was built in the early 1460s, it was captured by curtilage listing – meaning it is subject to the same strict planning restrictions as Grade I listed properties.
The Birthplace Trust has until November 5 to make a final application before the matter goes before the council’s planning committee.
If the council rejects the application the trust may be forced to transform the shed back to it’s original condition.
A spokeswoman said: “If the claimant loses their planning application the council could force them to convert the building back to it’s original state before the building work took place.”