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Historic Essex oyster sheds under threat

A proposal to take down and rebuild a pair of Oyster sheds on Mersea Island in Essex has been strongly criticised by the Victorian Society.

The Old Oyster Sheds on Coast road in West Mersea are believed to be more than 100 years old and were used by the oyster industry until the 1960s. One of the two linked buildings was the first place on Mersea Island to be connected to the telegraph network; oyster orders sent from London were received here and then relayed by flags to the packing sheds offshore.

Now the owners want to dismantle the sheds and build an oyster restaurant and private dining venue, known as The Oyster Room. Some of the historic fabric of the sheds will be re-used but the Society believes that the approach is still too destructive.

'The building materials and windows are different, the roof line is altered and the extension too large, all of these changes mean it's hard to read the history of these humble but important sheds,' said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. ‘It represents almost the complete demolition of the historic oyster sheds, buildings which should be protected from such damaging development by being in a Conservation Area.'

The Victorian Society believes there is scope to change and extend the sheds without erasing so much of their history.

Thursday 13 May, 2010

More recent item: Historic buildings saved as Spurs submit new plans
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