The ‘desecration’ of a rare Cornelius house that is a fine example of 'Cornish distinctiveness’ and architecture should not be allowed to go-ahead.

That was the message to members of Falmouth Town Council's planning committee from Beverly Kendall, vice chair the Cornish Buildings Group, who told them that an application to build a two-storey extension to the rear at Eastbury House at 2 Boscawen Road and other changes should be refused.

"We are very concerned that the owners do not realise what a fantastic heritage asset that they have in this house," she said. "It's one of the finest examples of Cornish distinctiveness by [Alfred]Cornelius, a pupil of Silvanus Travail, and it's following in the celebrated arts and crafts tradition which rejoices in such renowned people as William Morris.

"It includes the use of a local materials Delabole roof slate which is such a feature of these inter-war 20th century houses white render, blue wooden windows so reflective of its seaside location.

"I mean it really is a very fine example of Cornelius housing and it’s just a pity that the people don’t realise what they have, and we would be very sorry to see any changes made to the façade particularly.

"Changes can be made that accommodate modern living so we just can’t understand why people want to do that; the desecration of the house. It is likely that in a few years time it will be listed as a fine example of inter-war Cornish distinctiveness.”

Agent Dan Mitchell said the applicants, Mr and Mrs Pepper, had made considerable changes to the application since it had last been in front of the committee and had addressed many of their and objectors concerns concerning overlooking of neighbouring properties and design

"My client has done some significant revisions to the scheme as it's going through the process ultimately we are now left with a situation where the front elevation facing the road is pretty much untouched," he said. "I think the remaining issues now about the rear extension trying to appease the objectors to the application we have now proposed 1.8m screen."

Before and after the proposed extension

Before and after the proposed extension

The house was designed by renowned architect, Alfred Cornelius, in the early 1900's, assistant to the most prominent Cornish architect of the time, Silvanus Trevail. It was on the market for £995,000 when it sold recently.

Councillor John Spargo told Mr Mitchell that his clients seemed to have taken the view that the house was not that important.

"There aren’t that many places where you can go and see a property like this," he said. "There are hardly any in Falmouth. In fact I believe there are only two in Falmouth that are Cornelius attributed. If you mess with this you’re getting rid of 50% of examples of Cornelius design in the area.

"If your client and you are both aware of that obviously you have taken the view that it is not that important."

Mr Mitchell said his clients had gone a long way to retain the original features but the house, 'obviously' needed an upgrade and they were trying to make it a modern house capable of being at a modern standard.

"I think in terms of the external detailing I think we have made quite a significant amount of compromise to try and keep everyone happy really," he said.

While the case officer said the design was now acceptable the Neighbourhood Plan group said it was of a "poor design, inappropriate and insensitive development which detracts from a heritage asset namely a rare example of a Cornelius house."

The committee voted to recommend refusal on the grounds of the objections from the Neighbourhood Plan group. The application will now go before Cornwall Council for a final decision