A COUPLE who unlawfully stripped timbers from a historic Henley shop have agreed to put some of them back.
Norman and Jennifer Anthony have been given permission to continue refurbishing the Grade II* listed premises in Hart Street. However, South Oxfordshire District Council says they must restore part of the 16th-century woodwork they removed in December.
The premises, which include a first-floor flat, were occupied by shoe shop Venue until that closed late last year. The Anthonys, from Hazlemere, wanted to create a separate entrance to the flat then re-let it. They built a new staircase by the entrance and a wall to divide this from the shop floor. They then stripped out and replaced old timbers from the floor and walls of the flat in readiness for a refurbishment.
The couple say they did not seek planning permission because they did not know the building was listed and said the timbers were so badly infested with woodworm that they crumbled to the touch. However. in February, a member of the public alerted the district council after seeing a pile of old wood in the shop window.
The council told the couple the building was listed and they stopped work immediately before filing a retrospective planning application.
They agreed to restore the original timbers to a dividing wall by the master bedroom and the interior living room wall. A series of original timber posts still remaining in the property will be kept, and the sash windows overlooking Hart Street will either be repaired or replaced, whichever is more economical.
Double-glazing may also be added here and on the patio doors to the rear but the district council must first approve the design.
A brick inglenook fire place is to be left exposed and damage to the rear repaired.
The couple must also carry out a structural record survey of the building before they can start work again.
They did not wish to comment on the decision.