Another day, another planning application which residents fear will destroy a characterful Victorian house, replacing it with a bland brick block of flats. This time, the proposals have been described as “sneaky” and “vandalism on a grand scale”.
A planning application for 275 Addiscombe Road was originally submitted last October, but has been amended more recently.
This is not the usual knock-down-a-grand-family-home-and-build-flats-in-its=place scheme, though. The revised scheme has been presented to the council planning department as a “mere” “Basement extension, two storey front, side and rear extension and roof extension”.
The reality is somewhat different. In fact, the “extension” will remove the grand Victorian turrets at each corner of 275 Addiscombe Road, and but for leaving some of the original walls standing, will effectively deliver a new-build block of five two-bed-roomed flats.
275 Addiscombe Road was until recently the long-term home of the Ashworth family. It is believed to have been built in the 1880s. It was sold in July last year for £1.2million.
ASPRA, the Addiscombe and Shirley Park Residents’ Association, is on the case, but they fear that their intervention alone will not be enough to save what is a genuinely interesting local heritage building. Its twin was demolished nearly 40 years ago, and ASPRA are worried that if 275 goes, another part of their area’s character will be stripped away forever.
ASPRA members describe the proposals as “greedy vandalism on a grand scale”, and “a 80 per cent sneaky demolition of the complete building apart from a few straight walls”.
The application’s architects drawings make the proposals plain.
The building would go from this:
The house has no listing or preservation status, so is vulnerable to profit-hungry developers. Clearly, in this case, the developers have decided to address any possible sensibilities about demolishing a heritage building by dressing up their proposal as simply an extension.
As one ASPRA member told Inside Croydon today, “This is a historic house of the most lovely and unusual design. To my mind, this has always been the most beautiful house in the area. It may have fallen into some disrepair of late, but nonetheless stands as an inspired and inspirational architectural gem, unique in the area and a bastion of imaginative design, aspiration and loveliness.
“The well-established gardens, too, were modelled on those at historic country houses, with large conservatories, thoughtful landscaping and planting.
“Now it seems that this wonderful building is under threat to developers, who, it seems, are not intending even to preserve the quirky turrets, towers and period details that are all part of its unique charm.
“Surely this building must be deserving of some sort of historic, heritage or distinguished architectural recognition? Can it be preserved and protected under the Local Heritage Area designation or buildings of special local interest?”
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