More choice over thatch for cottages


Owners of thatched cottages will have a say over their choice of roofing material after all, the council has said.

Central Beds Council’s sustainable communities overview and scrutiny committee discussed its draft Design Guide yesterday (Thursday, February 27).

Part of this guide covers the character of the local area and it particularly refers to the type of material used to rethatch roofs.

The council has said that because houses in the area traditionally used long straw with limited ornamentation then this should be used for nearly all thatched cottages when the time comes to have the thatching replaced.

But thatchers and homeowners alike protested against this idea, saying that there would not be enough high quality long straw to go round and that long straw thatching is not appropriate for some roof shapes.

However now the council has said that it will be attempting to persuade people to use long straw rather than making it compulsory.

A spokesman for the council said: “The intention is still very much to encourage the conservation of long straw thatched roofs with plain flush ridges and to seek to re-introduce them where they were likely to be the tradition.

“The emphasis with the current guidance is that following the public debate and consultation, the council will encourage and persuade rather than ask for an application for listed building consent for the retention of other (usually less suitable or unsympathetic) more recent types, materials and styles of thatching.

“These include combed wheat reed and water reed with ornamental and patterned ridges and detailing.”