A bid to demolish a wealthy shoe-making pioneer's Norfolk coastal getaway has been deferred after a last-ditch attempt by locals to stop it from happening.

Villagers in Holme-next-the-Sea have opposed a developer's plans to knock down the property in Beach Road, labelling the design of the five-bedroom replacement home as "repulsive".

West Norfolk Council planning officers had recommended it for approval but late last week, the parish council issued a 42-page document arguing for the application to be blocked due to the historic importance of the property.

Eastern Daily Press: The house in Beach Road, Holme-next-the-SeaThe house in Beach Road, Holme-next-the-Sea (Image: West Norfolk Council)

This meant members of the planning committee did not have time to read the information and it was decided to defer the decision to a later date.

Tom de Winton, district councillor for Holme, was left frustrated at the parish council's actions, calling them "very galling" and questioned why this information was not supplied sooner - the application was submitted in 2022.

Eastern Daily Press: An artist's impression of what the new home would look likeAn artist's impression of what the new home would look like (Image: Vertex Architecture)

Locals' concerns centre around their view that the property is a non-designated heritage asset and that it should be protected.

Eastern Daily Press: Charles Bennion was the founder of British United Shoe Machinery. which supplied machinery to factoriesCharles Bennion was the founder of British United Shoe Machinery. which supplied machinery to factories (Image: Wikipedia)

The house, known as Brownsea, was built as a coastal getaway for Charles Bennion, a wealthy shoe manufacturer from Leicestershire by architect Shirley Harrison.

His company, British United Shoe Machinery, became the largest manufacturer of footwear machinery in the world and helped revolutionise the industry.

Wendy Norman, a parish councillor, described it as "one of the best examples of interwar architecture" and believes it is a heritage asset.

Eastern Daily Press: The property in Holme-next-the-SeaThe property in Holme-next-the-Sea (Image: West Norfolk Council)

David Hassler, a local objecting to the plans, told councillors approving the plans would "set a precedent" for developers being allowed to demolish historic homes and that there would be "no public benefit" if it is bulldozed.

"The history of Beach Road and Holme would be lost" he argued. 

However, Chris Lindley, an agent for the developers, said the plans are within the local planning policies and that the current building is "very dilapidated".

The contentious application has drawn several objections from locals, who worry the new home will be "unsympathetic" to the rural location.