VITAL repair work has been agreed to preserve a beloved heritage site in Canvey.

Parts of the Dutch Cottage Museum, in Canvey Road, are rotting away due to water leaking through roof after vandals tore up some of the roof tiles to the extension.

Now Castle Point Council has granted permission for improvements to be carried out to the timber-framed building to help repair some of the damage.

The works will include stripping off the existing roof tiles and introducing strengthening battens and waterproof membrane to help preserve the woodwork.

Ishita Sheth, planning officer for the council, said: “These works are necessary to prevent the ingress that has led to the saturation of the timber roof structure and has resulted in some of the timber rafters and boards showing signs of rot.

“It is considered that the proposed works will result in prevention of deterioration of the Grade II listed building.”

The cottage, which dates back to 1618, has fallen victim to numerous incidents of vandalism over the past two years, with yobs daubing graffiti on its walls, pelting it with plums from nearby trees, stealing roof tiles, breaking wooden panels and tearing up geraniums from the flower beds.

Ray Howard, councillor for Canvey West ward, said: “I am delighted that the application was approved. This site is so very dear to me and indeed everyone on the island. It is so important we do all we can to preserve it because it is an integral part of the area’s history, and, one of the first places people most want to visit on trips to Canvey.

“I am pleased to say the new CCTV camera installed at Charfleets roundabout have gone a long way to helping reduce the vandalism there and providing protection for the building.”

The Dutch Cottage Museum, with its famous, conical thatched roof, was restored in 1952 and is now looked after by the Benfleet and District Historical Society on behalf of Castle Point Council.