The owners of one of Wellingborough’s most important historical buildings are being told to carry out urgent repairs to stop its deterioration.
The 17th century Hind Hotel, on the town's Sheep Street, has been visibly deteriorating over the past 10 years. The hotel is Grade II* listed, which English Heritage categorises as being a "particularly important building of more than special interest". Only 5.5% of the country's 374,000 listed buildings are Grade II* and the Hind is one of only three in that category in Wellingborough.
As such a high-grade listed building, the council has a responsibility to ensure it is protected and can intervene if the owners fail to keep up with repairs. Members of the council's development committee will meet next week to discuss serving a Repairs Notice on the property's owners.
A number of urgent repairs are necessary, both on the outside and inside of the hotel. Wooden rafters, beams and windows have rotted, stone and brick work is eroded, rainwater pipes are broken and leaking, a number walls are covered in vegetation, and some have structural cracks in them. In the courtyard there is rot and damage to the escape staircase and inside the building the historical wall panelling has broken away and there is water damage to wall and ceiling plaster. The majority of the building needs repointing and the roof is in desperate need of repair, with missing stone slates, open joints and broken guttering.
Councillor Tim Allebone, chairman of the council's development committee, said: "The Hind Hotel is a rare, high-grade listed building and of great importance to the town. It was a resting point for Oliver Cromwell's army before the Battle of Naseby in 1645 and it's alleged that Cromwell himself stayed at the hotel. We have a duty to protect historic buildings like this and we have to act quickly to stop the hotel deteriorating any further. If we serve a Repairs Notice we would expect the owners to take steps to preserve the building, and if this is not carried out within two months of the notice we can begin a process of enforcement action.
"Last year we secured more than £1.4m of lottery money to help protect the borough's heritage and the Hind was identified as a key building that could receive grant funding to cover around 70% of the cost of approved works. We've talked this over with the owners on many occasions but as of yet they've not put in an application to take advantage of this funding."