The Bearsted Parade is a really special building.
It’s remained virtually unchanged since it was built in 1882. There are three successful family businesses there, including a high quality butcher and delicatessen, which are greatly valued by the local community. Now it is the subject of a planning application which will see the building dramatically altered, changing the historic character of that corner of the Green and raising questions about the long term future of the local businesses.
These shops are much more than just a place to buy a pint of milk or some sausages. It would be very sad to see them replaced by a national chain, and I understand the shopkeepers’ worry about the risk of increased rents in a future new building.
So I’m supporting the Bearsted and Thurnham Society’s campaign to rescue it. They have put a huge amount of work into researching its history and architectural significance.
I wrote to Tracey Crouch MP at the Department for Culture, Media & Sport in her role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for heritage asking her to support to look closely at proposals to have the building listed as Grade II and help preserve this important piece of local culture.
Ms Crouch responded, saying that Historic England intend to visit the parade and make a full assessment of its historical and architectural significance, before making a recommendation to her department. You can read a copy of her letter by clicking on the attachment below.
I know Tracey Crouch will take great care in reviewing HE's recommendation. I will keep in contact with her, as well as with the Bearsted and Thurnham Society in the coming months, to make sure we get the right decision.
I hope this historic building can be saved for future generations.