A campaign by residents, supported by the Victorian Society and Save Britain’s Heritage, to save a 19th century building from developers’ bulldozers appears to have been successful, at least for now.
Culvers Lodge in Hackbridge was built around 1875 as part of the former Culvers estate.
Sutton Council’s efforts to palm off the responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the locally listed building to the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust fell flat last year, when the Trust used a £10,000 Heritage Lottery grant not to fix up the building’s leaky roof, but to pay consultants for a report that told them… the Lodge would be too expensive for them to operate.
There were real fears that a council report, expected in the next couple of weeks, would recommend demolition of the 140-year-old building, to allow them to build flats on the site.
But Inside Sutton has now obtained an email from council official Gill Daw, who holds the magnificently over-important title of “head of housing enabling and development”, and who suggests that Sutton have had a re-think and will exercise their responsibilities to the area’s heritage.
In her email, Daw wrote, “In view of the very strong public allegiance to Culvers Lodge the council will ensure that the building is refurbished sensitively and to appropriate standards to make it available for letting as a residential dwelling.”
So far, so good. But there is a “but”.
Daw continued: “However, we do have a responsibility to ensure best use of the site and the decision to refurbish Culvers Lodge does not rule out the option to also develop the garden land, subject to feasibility, planning permission etc. There is further work to be done on the proposal to develop the garden land by council officers before it can be definitively decided upon.”
Daw has undertaken to keep the Culvers Lodge campaigners updated with news of the procurement and restoration process.
With the immediate threat of demolition of Culvers Lodge removed, as one of the campaigners said today, “It looks like very good news as far as it goes.”
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