‘Historic’ wall contains breeze blocks
Honiton antique dealer disputes his garden wall’s connection to the former Honiton Pottery.
Businessman Tony Sabine knows an antique when he sees one - and says his garden wall falls short of the mark.
In places it is made of breeze blocks, but planners are concerned the structure could be an important part of Honiton’s heritage.
Mr Sabine, an antiques dealer, who has traded in Honiton for 40 years, says the claim is the latest obstacle in his six-year battle to gain planning permission to develop three bungalows.
Amended plans propose an 18ft section of the wall is removed to make way for the development.
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Honiton Town Council’s planning committee has expressed concern that a chunk of local heritage could be lost.
“I’m not trying to mess up Honiton; I’m an antiques dealer,” Mr Sabine told the Midweek Herald.
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“What I am asking for is not unreasonable.
“Part of the wall is made of breeze blocks and only I can see it.”
Mr Sabine, 64, who runs Lombard Antiques and Upstairs and Downstairs with his son, has had to spend �1,000 on archaeology tests, because it is claimed fragments of Honiton Pottery could be buried beneath his overgrown lawn.
But deeds dating back to 1923 show the land is two plots away from the former pottery.
Signed by respected solicitor Tom Phillips, husband of Honiton’s trail-blazing suffragette, Juanita Maxwell Phillips, who was 11 times mayor, the deeds include a map of the site - showing Mr Sabine’s garden was once something that is now even rarer than pottery in the town, allotments.
“The land was used for allotments and farm buildings and was not connected to the pottery,” said Mr Sabine.
“This was farmland and, apart from my properties, the rest of the terrace comprises Victorian additions.”
Mr Sabine originally sought planning permission for the new dwellings in 2006, hoping to provide homes to rent to police officers and other essential services personnel.
However, that plan was turned down and he has now paid for new designs to be drawn up.
He was hopeful that the L-shaped properties would find favour with councillors, but was shocked to read in the Midweek Herald that his garden wall could stand in the way of progress.
“As far as I’m aware, nobody has come to look at the wall,” he said.
“My land is sitting here, doing nothing, when it could be providing much-needed housing.”